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Ecology, environmental protection and nature conservation - for a green future

Ecology is a subdiscipline of biology that examines the interrelationships of organisms and their environment.

Ecology as a generic term for the overall relationship between living beings and the environment

Environmental protection and nature conservation are elements of ecology. Because environmental awareness has been on the rise since the middle of the 20th century, the term ecology is frequently used in the same breath as environmental protection andnature conservation. There is a demarcation line however. Ecology describes the relationship between living beings and the environment, while environmental protection and nature conservation involve measures aimed at preserving the environment. Although ecology research is a broad field, it can be broken down into three main subdisciplines :

  • Population ecology
  • Community ecology
  • Ecological system analyses

At a high level, ecology involves the propagation and frequency of organisms. Where do they come from? What type of organism did they originate from? How many are there? And where do they appear? The goal of ecological analyses is providing answers to these questions. Biotic and abiotic environmental factors that can influence the environment are also part any ecological analysis. What makes ecological research so difficult is the complexity of the biological systems. Individual observations serve less as focal points and more as general conclusions produced from mathematics, statistics or experiments. A vital part of ecology is reducing complex structures to simple conclusions based on natural science.

Environmental protection and its subdisciplines

While ecology takes a holistic approach, environmental protectionmainly involves measures aimed at preserving the basic existence of all living beings. This calls for maintaining a healthy ecosystem. For this reason, nature conservation plays a leading role in ecology as well as in environmental protection. A basic element of environmental protection involves rectifying human-induced damage to the environment. As a result, this requires observing not only the individual parts, but the overall relationships between the parts as well, The term environmental protection first gained attention in the 1970s. One of the primary goals of environmental protection is preserving the human ecosystem. Although preservation of the human ecosystem is a major aspect of environmental protection, technical solutions are still frequently employed. Environmental protection can be divided into several disciplines:

  • climate protection as a subdiscipline of environmental protection
  • forest protection as a subdiscipline of environmental protection
  • water protection as a subdiscipline of environmental protection

From a global point of view,environmental protection is always related to one of these subdisciplines.

Nature conservation as a demarcation line between environmental protection and ecology

Apart from ecology and environmental protection, an important area is nature conservation. Although environmental protection and nature conservation typically complement one another, there are certain exceptions. In the field of ecology, renewable raw materials such as wood are points of conflict between nature conservation and environmental protection. While nature conservation demands that trees be preserved as long as possible and eventually turned into deadwood for the ecosystem of a variety of animals, environmental protection views wood as a sustainable energy source and raw material. Environmental protection also seeks to avoid the radical deforesting of lands and forests. Within nature conservation there are also initiatives that oppose wind power and small hydropower systems. Under the context of nature conservation, the idea is to impact nature as little as possible. Nature conservation is also a local issue. Nature conservation frequently involves single locations. As it pertains to ecology, nature conservation examines ways to preserve and reestablish a balanced ecosystem. Nature conservation strives toward sustainable human use of our natural environment. Nature conservation is a goal of government and is established in Article 20a of the German constitution. Nature conservation also means the protection of animals and homelands. Many individuals also view nature conservation as important, because they understand the dramatic consequences if society is not actively engaged in nature conservation.

Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

This complex theme deals primarily with interactions between organisms and the environmental factors that impact them, but to a greater extent between individual inanimate environmental factors.

innovations-report offers informative reports and articles on topics such as climate protection, landscape conservation, ecological systems, wildlife and nature parks and ecosystem efficiency and balance.

Latest News:

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Water sustainability not all it`s cracked up to be

Sustainability may not be all it’s cracked up to be. That is the message in a recent paper by a hydrogeologist at Reading University . Michael Price argues that most human advances have been non-sustainable in the long term and that when we talk of ‘sustainable use’ we must define the period over which the use is planned or implemented. Price identifies three major challenges currently facing Britain and the world. The first is that the climate, and with it the supply of water, is becoming 11.04.2002 | nachricht Read more

How green does your garden grow?

Scientists at the University of Plymouth have been developing methods to `close the loop` on waste and pollution, by finding waste products that can be used to improve soil / plant-growth conditions. At the Society for Experimental Biology conference in Swansea Dr Stuart Lane presented ways in which garden and industrial waste could be recycled to benefit the environment. In collaboration with Ecological Sciences Limited, Dr Lane`s group investigated a horticultural growth substitute for pea 11.04.2002 | nachricht Read more

Lopsided feet signal birds’ demise

Asymmetric bodies fuel arguments over ecological risk. Birds with one foot bigger than the other are showing signs of stress, say Belgian ecologists. The study backs the controversial idea that measuring body asymmetries could signal that a species is at risk. Researchers at the University of Antwerp measured the feet of taita thrushes from three remaining pockets of their native forest in Kenya. Those from the most disturbed area showed eight times more difference between t 10.04.2002 | nachricht Read more

Environmentally friendly plastic film of potato starch

Plastic made of potato starch is a promising material for packaging, which is a big new application for starch plastics. This is shown in Åsa Rindlav-Westling’s doctoral dissertation, which was carried out in Paul Gatenholm’s research team in polymer technology at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. Our huge quantities of refuse could be reduced and a greater proportion than today could be composted. Combustion of materials from oil, such as conventional plastics and fossil fuels, ra 08.04.2002 | nachricht Read more

Journal Retracts Support for Claims of Invasive GM Corn

The journal Nature has announced that a report claiming that genetically engineered DNA had found its way into wild Mexican corn should not have been published. The announcement, unveiled online last Thursday, came with two critiques of the study and a rebuttal by its authors. Though they are not retracting the original article Nature editor Philip Campbell states that the journal has decided to make the circumstances surrounding it clear and "allow our readers to judge the science for themselves." 08.04.2002 | nachricht Read more

New environmental research lab helps get more out of waste

A new London research laboratory developing fresh solutions to the perpetual problems of how best to get rid of our waste has reopened its doors today after a UKP1.5 million facelift. Researchers based in the new Roger Perry Environmental Engineering laboratory at Imperial College are behind a number of innovative new waste reclaim and reuse projects. Over 60 London households are helping in one project to evaluate how effective home composting is at managing domestic solid waste, t 28.03.2002 | nachricht Read more

Fisheries forecasting in the Niger inner delta

The hydrological regime of the inner delta of the River Niger, situated in Mali, is subject to strong annual and indeed intra-annual variability. This delta ecosystem has a characteristic feature, a three-phase cycle. The first, a period of flood, starts in July marking the beginning of the cycle; then, after several months of rising water-levels, the flood recedes, between November and January; finally, a period of low water prevails between March and June. The river’s various fish species 27.03.2002 | nachricht Read more

Protecting fish nurseries

A University of Plymouth lecturer and his PhD student are putting Plymouth on the world map for research in a specialist field of marine biology: the importance of seagrass meadows. Seagrass can grow prolifically in outer estuarine areas and is the only flowering plant fully adapted for life in the marine environment. As well as being home to a wide variety of animal life including fish such as sea horses, its dense beds offer some protection against wave buffeting and the ensuing coastal e 21.03.2002 | nachricht Read more

Commission kicks off action plan for Global Monitoring of Environment and Security

Philippe Busquin, Research Commissioner and responsible for space policy, opened the first meeting of the GMES Steering Committee in Brussels today. This meeting gathered, for the first time, the users and suppliers of GMES services and technologies. The steering committee will assist in the implementation of the EU’s Action Plan on Global Monitoring of Environment and Security (GMES). The goal set by the European Union is to develop by 2008 an operational and autonomous European global monitoring ca 20.03.2002 | nachricht Read more

Depleted uranium soils battlefields

Report assesses chemical effects of Gulf war weapon. Depleted uranium in weapons may have left some soldiers with kidney damage and could cause long-term environmental contamination, say British scientists. Their independent review calls for accurate exposure tests and long-term environmental monitoring in combat zones. Depleted uranium (DU) is a dense radioactive substance. It was used in weapons to punch through heavily armoured vehicles during the Gulf War and Kosovo conf 12.03.2002 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

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