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Ecology is a subdiscipline of biology that examines the interrelationships of organisms and their 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 :
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.
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:
From a global point of view,environmental protection is always related to one of these subdisciplines.
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.
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.
Researchers from the UFZ warn that ecosystems will change dramatically
In their joint publication in the journal „Ecology Letters" German and American biologists have reported an increase in biomass production in ecosystems...11.03.2014 | Read more
Jeanette Wyneken, Ph.D., associate professor of biological science at Florida Atlantic University, and Kate Mansfield, Ph.D., a co-investigator at the University of Central Florida, are the first to successfully track neonate sea turtles in the Atlantic Ocean waters during what had previously been called their “lost years.” Findings from the study appear today in the journal Proceeding of the Royal Society B.
The “lost years” refer to the time after turtles hatch and head out to sea until they are seen again upon returning to near-shore waters as large juveniles....07.03.2014 | Read more
DNA sleuthing confirms chickadee “hybrid zone” marching northward as climate warms
The zone of overlap between two popular, closely related backyard birds is moving northward at a rate that matches warming winter temperatures, according to a...07.03.2014 | Read more
Researchers propose coordinated response plan to study these impacts for more effective management of threatened marine ecosystems
Researchers are highlighting the urgent need to understand impacts of biomass burning and haze on Southeast Asian marine ecosystems in a paper published in the...07.03.2014 | Read more
Two things could improve the protection of Europe’s protected natural areas in future: first, responsible policy-makers and administrators need to know more about climate change and its effects on plant and animal life; and second, they need to exchange their experiences and the measures they are using to adapt to climate change. This is the conclusion reached by the authors of the book Managing Protected Areas in Central and Eastern Europe under Climate Change. It is the result of the HABIT-CHANGE project conducted by the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER) in Dresden, Germany.
Climate change and its effects on habitats and on the plant and animal worlds is one of the major challenges facing protected areas all over Europe. The...06.03.2014 | Read more
Researchers at New Zealand's University of Otago are helping to clear up an enduring mystery regarding the composition of the Earth's atmosphere. They have discovered the microbial soil processes that help ensure that the explosive gas hydrogen remains at trace levels.
In recent decades it was found that around four-fifths of all hydrogen released into the air is rapidly removed through soil activity, but exactly what is...04.03.2014 | Read more
Quarantine protocol successfully used to demonstrate brucellosis-free bison from infected herds
A new study from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) demonstrates that it is possible to...28.02.2014 | Read more
Judging the effects of climate change on extinction may be easier than previously thought, according to a paper published today in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Although widely used assessments of threatened species, such as the IUCN Red List, were not developed with the effects of climate change in mind, a study of 36...26.02.2014 | Read more
But "almost nothing is known regarding how pathogens of pollinators are transmitted at flowers," postdoctoral researcher Scott McArt and Professor Lynn Adler...24.02.2014 | Read more
Siemens is “teaching” wind turbines how to automatically optimize their operation in line with weather conditions.
The turbines are learning to use sensor data on parameters such as wind speed to make changes to their settings. These changes ensure the turbines can...
In a review article in Nature Photonics Ferenc Krausz and Mark Stockman discuss the prospects, recent experimental and theoretical findings open for the future of signal processing
Light waves have the potential to boost the efficiency of conventional electronics by a factor of 100,000.
The partners in this European project develop anti-corrosion protective coatings for applications on industrial scale.
The INM – Leibniz-Institute for New Materials will contribute its expertise of nanocomposite technology to the project Weldaprime.
The growing deployment of renewable energy sources (RES) will have to be accompanied by a significant expansion of the electricity grids.
The places where the generation of energy from wind, solar or hydro would be most economically competitive are often located in remote areas (offshore wind for...
A rainbow-like light phenomenon observed on Venus cloud tops helps to identify the components of the planet’s acidic cloud cover
When travelling above the clouds, airplane passengers sometimes witness a glorious moment: a light phenomenon similar to a ring-shaped rainbow. Droplets in the...
12.03.2014 | Event News
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05.03.2014 | Event News