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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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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

What Shall We Do With Nuclear Waste?

There are two ways of dealing with the problem of nuclear waste. The first one is the easiest but not the most sensible: you can simply bury nuclear waste products and try to forget about them. However, this way does not seem to be the most rational. It seems much more attractive to try to derive some benefit from the situation. In this case it is worth extracting the compounds that could be used in future from the whole mass of nuclear wastes. In the first instance, these are non-burnt uranium and p 12.03.2002 | nachricht Read more

Rural people key to saving the world’s forests

The best way to conserve many of the world’s forests — and alleviate poverty in some of its poorest countries — is to allow rural communities to generate income by selling forest products, rather than tightly regulating forest use, according to a report released on 7 March. Forests are vital to one quarter of the world’s poorest people, who depend on forest resources for their subsistence, the report says. It adds that improving the lives of these people through commercial forestry is esse 09.03.2002 | nachricht Read more

ENVISAT: EU Supports New Space Applications for Global Monitoring of Environment & Security

ENVISAT, successfully launched this morning from the European spaceport at Kourou, French Guyana, by an Ariane 5 rocket, is the largest and most sophisticated Earth observation satellite ever built in Europe. From an altitude of 800 km, the 8.2-ton Environment Satellite – Europe’s new “eyes in space” – will deliver an unprecedented wealth of images and data that will help scientists better understand the Earth, and assist European Union decision-makers in reaching environmental and other policy goals 01.03.2002 | nachricht Read more

Europe’s environmental eye soars into orbit

The eagerly awaited launch of ESA’s Envisat environmental monitoring satellite took place in Kourou, French Guiana, today at 22:07:59 hrs Kourou time (02:07:59 hrs CET). Envisat’s spectacular night-time launch also marked the return to business for Europe’s Ariane 5 launcher. Lift-off was witnessed by dozens of cheering engineers, scientists and project members at the launch site and at ESA centres across Europe. Rising into a clear sky, the Ariane 5 propelled the Envisat towards a lofty v 01.03.2002 | nachricht Read more

Protecting Natural Spaces Does Not Prevent Invasion by Foreign Species

A study carried out by researchers at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelonashows that protecting natural spaces does not prevent invasion by foreign vegetation species. Montserrat Vilà and Jordi Pujadas, researchers at the CREAF, have published the study, the first to quantify the relationship between species invasions and human activity on a regional scale, in Biological Conservation. The introduction of foreign species is a global phenomenon which has negative effects on the conservation o 28.02.2002 | nachricht Read more

European corals hit hard by fishing

Coral reefs older than the Pyramids are being smashed to bits by fishing boats trawling deep water off the UK coast European countries are constantly pleading with developing nations to protect coral reefs in tropical countries. But it turns out that their own fishing boats are trashing equally important reefs in their own waters. Jason Hall-Spencer of the University of Glasgow has found pieces of coral at least 4,500 years old in the nets of trawlers operating off Ireland and Sco 26.02.2002 | nachricht Read more

Predicting the species diversity of large herbivores in nature reserves

The number of species of large herbivores that can live in a nature reserve can be easily calculated using just rainfall and soil fertility data. The Wageningen ecologist Dr Han Olff can use this to indicate on a worldwide basis where nature reserves that protect large mammals are needed. On a map of the world, the researcher from Wageningen University has marked the areas in which the greatest diversity of large game can live. For species-rich nature reserves in East Africa and on the Argen 20.02.2002 | nachricht Read more

Refined Petrol Stations

There are always oil spots near the petrol stations. Rainwater washes them away, polluting the environment. Researchers from Perm have developed a refining unit for cleaning rainwater sewage from petrol stations. It was successfully tested in Moscow and Perm. The unit base is a new filter - "Kombi" - made of fibrous carbon sorbent, which is produced by coagulation of chemical cellulose fibres in a special way. The filtering process consists of three stages - settling, refinement through the 20.02.2002 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

Im Focus: Photoexcited graphene puzzle solved

A boost for graphene-based light detectors

Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...

Im Focus: Water is not the same as water

Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...

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