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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.

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Gardeners urged to help stop spread of invasive plants

Invasive alien plants are causing havoc in our natural landscape, but gardeners can play a key part in stopping their spread. That`s the view of Imperial College Wye which will be exhibiting at this year`s Chelsea Flower Show, opening 20 May. The College stand (LL23) will outline the threat caused by alien or non-native plants introduced intentionally from overseas, usually as garden plants. The main culprits - including rhododendron ponticum, giant hogweed and Japanese knotweed - are not on 10.05.2002 | nachricht Read more

Pine Is Ten Times As Sensitive As Maple

Coniferous trees are widespread in Russia, especially in Siberia, where taiga extends over tens of millions of hectares. Cedars and pines grow also in the environs of cities and in city parks and suffer from human-induced changes in environment. Of course, coniferous trees can withstand a low-level pollution. Acid gases or soil pollutants that trees absorb are actively transported and deposited in those parts of wood, which do not perform important functions, and some elements are re 08.05.2002 | nachricht Read more

Marine reserves have rapid and lasting effects

Marine reserves have rapid and lasting impacts on organisms inside reserves, according to scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In a paper published in the current issue of Ecology Letters, the researchers reviewed 80 studies from ‘no-take’ reserves, where it is illegal to extract organisms in any way. These showed that density, biomass, average size and diversity of organisms inside these reserves reach much higher levels within a short period of time, usually one to t 03.05.2002 | nachricht Read more

Concrete Advice on Improving the Environment

The pressure on the environment of building during the past 5000 years can be observed clearly from the air. In a recent lecture at the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI), aerial photographer and concrete specialist Christopher Stanley illustrated the evolution of construction and its lasting impact, from stone circles to skyscrapers. Stanley’s lecture ‘Managing the environment: a perspective from land, air and sea’ followed the presentation of the 2002 SCI Environment Medal in recognition o 29.04.2002 | nachricht Read more

New Research Turns Sewage Farms into Power Plants

Researchers at the University of Warwick’s Warwick Process Technology Group have devised a process that turns wet waste from sewage farms and paper mills into a source of power. University of Warwick researcher Dr Ashok Bhattacharya and his team are part of a Europe wide consortium that have cracked the problem of how to extract very pure levels of hydrogen from wet bio-matter, such as sewage or paper mill waste. This very pure hydrogen can then be used in “fuel cells” to power homes, factor 29.04.2002 | nachricht Read more

Discovery of method to combat toxic algal blooms and description of a new group of organisms

In the fall of 1997 a then unknown species of plankton, Parvilucifera infectans , was discovered in the Gullmar Fjord, on the west coast of Sweden. The organism is a parasite that infects and kills several species of toxic algae. Some of these toxic algae can generate extremely potent blooms at great cost to fisheries and the tourism industry around the world. Other species cause mussel toxins that cause major problems for mussel farmers in Sweden and elsewhere. Fredrik Norén at Götebo 19.04.2002 | nachricht Read more

Common Weed Killer Disrupts Frog’s Sexual Development

Exposure to less than one part per billion of the most commonly used herbicide in the U.S. can feminize male frogs, according to a new study. The findings, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that concentrations of chemicals considered safe for humans can have insidious effects on amphibians and could be contributing to the global decline in their populations. Tyrone B. Hayes of the University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues studied the ef 16.04.2002 | nachricht Read more

Gorillas to be guarded from orbit

A joint ESA and UNESCO scheme to keep watch on endangered gorilla habitats from space is the subject of a two-day ESRIN workshop this week. Representatives of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), the World Wildlife Fund, the International Gorilla Conservation Fund and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and United Nations Environment Programme are among those who will attend the meeting in Frascati near Rome to discuss possible partnership and agr 16.04.2002 | nachricht Read more

World first in satellite-based monitoring of large lake areas

Satellite sensors operating in the visible wavelength region are now in use for the monitoring of oceanic waters. For the first time ever, Finnish scientists have demonstrated the practical usability of satellite data for the simultaneous monitoring of water quality in large lake and coastal regions. The project was carried out by the Laboratory of Space Technology of the Helsinki University of Technology in cooperation with the Finnish Environment Institute. The attached fi 15.04.2002 | nachricht Read more

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
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

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