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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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Sinking groundwater levels threaten the vitality of riverine ecosystems

Freiburg hydrologist presents new results showing how sinking groundwater levels threaten the vitality of riverine ecosystems

Groundwater is the world's largest source of freshwater and it is of vital importance for food production. Increasing extraction of groundwater in recent...

04.10.2019 | nachricht Read more

Protecting our climate, the environment and nature is the focus of a new communications project

Although scientists have long made the underlying facts related to the man-made climate crisis very clear, a drastic reduction in greenhouse gases has yet to occur. The need for action is more urgent than ever.

How can I contribute to ensure that more people take an interest in the important issue of protecting the climate, the environment and nature and help them...

04.10.2019 | nachricht Read more

Preventing Future Forest Diebacks

Removing dead trees from the forests and reforesting on a large scale: this is the German Federal Government's strategy against "Forest Dieback 2.0". Ecologists from the University of Würzburg call for other solutions.

Bark beetles, heat, drought, storms, and fires have damaged the German forests. Those who go for a walk there often encounter dead spruces and dried beech...

02.10.2019 | nachricht Read more

Microplastics in the Great Lakes: Becoming benthic

Research presented at the 2019 GSA Annual Meeting

From the Great Pacific garbage patch to inland rivers, plastics are among the most widespread contaminants on Earth. Microplastics -- particles of plastic...

24.09.2019 | nachricht Read more

Bioplastics from Waste Fats

Sebastian L. Riedel and Stefan Junne from TU Berlin conduct research into using bacteria to replace plastics derived from fossil oil

450 million tons of plastic are produced globally each year. PHAs represent a tentative approach to defeating the plague that is plastic. PHA stands for...

23.09.2019 | nachricht Read more

Fungicides as an underestimated hazard for freshwater organisms

Fungicides are worldwide used in agriculture. Large amounts of applied fungicides leak into nearby surface waters. The effects of these substances on aquatic organisms are poorly understood and not specifically addressed in the EU regulatory frameworks with respect to the protection of surface waters. Scientists at the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) have found that pollution by fungicides can have unforeseen but far-reaching consequences for the functioning of aquatic systems – like indirect effects on the development of algal blooms.

The researchers investigated whether fungicides regularly used in agriculture such as tebuconazole or azoxystrobin influence the growth of aquatic fungi. In...

17.09.2019 | nachricht Read more

Study: We need more realistic experiments on the impact of climate change on ecosystems

When it comes to the impact of climate change on ecosystems, we still have large knowledge gaps. Most experiments are unrealistic because they do not correspond to projected climate scenarios for a specific region. As a result, we lack reliable data on what ecosystems might look like in the future, as a team of biodiversity researchers from Central Germany show in the journal "Global Change Biology". The team reviewed all experimental studies on the topic. The researchers are now calling for the introduction of common protocols for future experiments.

The facts that climate change is man-made and that it will alter ecosystems are indisputable. However, there is debate about its extent and its consequences....

16.09.2019 | nachricht Read more

Plastics, fuels and chemical feedstocks from CO2? They're working on it

SUNCAT researchers discover a way to improve a key step in these conversions, and explore what it would take to turn the climate-changing gas into valuable products on an industrial scale.

One way to reduce the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is now at its highest point in 800,000 years, would be to capture the potent greenhouse...

10.09.2019 | nachricht Read more

Corals take control of nitrogen recycling

Corals are shown to recycle their own waste ammonium using a surprising source of glucose--a finding that reveals more about the relationship between corals and their symbiotic algae.

Symbiosis between corals and algae provides the backbone for building coral reefs, particularly in nutrient-poor waters like the Red Sea. Algae and corals...

04.09.2019 | nachricht Read more

Making More Plastics Recyclable

To date, it is nothing but the wishful thinking of many plastics recyclers: that recyclability is taken into account right from the very beginning of a product’s life cycle, at the product design stage. A new project aims at making this dream come true.

Whether multi-layered food packaging, power cable sheathing or a toothbrush: Many plastic products cannot be recycled. This is the case, for example, when...

02.09.2019 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Solving the mystery of quantum light in thin layers

A very special kind of light is emitted by tungsten diselenide layers. The reason for this has been unclear. Now an explanation has been found at TU Wien (Vienna)

It is an exotic phenomenon that nobody was able to explain for years: when energy is supplied to a thin layer of the material tungsten diselenide, it begins to...

Im Focus: An ultrafast glimpse of the photochemistry of the atmosphere

Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have explored the initial consequences of the interaction of light with molecules on the surface of nanoscopic aerosols.

The nanocosmos is constantly in motion. All natural processes are ultimately determined by the interplay between radiation and matter. Light strikes particles...

Im Focus: Shaping nanoparticles for improved quantum information technology

Particles that are mere nanometers in size are at the forefront of scientific research today. They come in many different shapes: rods, spheres, cubes, vesicles, S-shaped worms and even donut-like rings. What makes them worthy of scientific study is that, being so tiny, they exhibit quantum mechanical properties not possible with larger objects.

Researchers at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE's Argonne National...

Im Focus: Novel Material for Shipbuilding

A new research project at the TH Mittelhessen focusses on the development of a novel light weight design concept for leisure boats and yachts. Professor Stephan Marzi from the THM Institute of Mechanics and Materials collaborates with Krake Catamarane, which is a shipyard located in Apolda, Thuringia.

The project is set up in an international cooperation with Professor Anders Biel from Karlstad University in Sweden and the Swedish company Lamera from...

Im Focus: Controlling superconducting regions within an exotic metal

Superconductivity has fascinated scientists for many years since it offers the potential to revolutionize current technologies. Materials only become superconductors - meaning that electrons can travel in them with no resistance - at very low temperatures. These days, this unique zero resistance superconductivity is commonly found in a number of technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Future technologies, however, will harness the total synchrony of electronic behavior in superconductors - a property called the phase. There is currently a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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