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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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New exhaust gas measurement registers ultrafine pollutant particles for the first time

Together with international partners, researchers at Graz University of Technology have developed a measurement method that measures particles below 10 nanometres for the first time and will contribute to the implementation of future, stricter emission standards

A few days ago, the European Commission presented its Green Deal, which aims to make the EU climate neutral by 2050 in order to protect the environment and...

21.01.2020 | nachricht Read more

ZMT-Expert supports the implementation of the ambitious marine reserve in Palau

On 1 January 2020, the island state of Palau implemented one of the world's largest and most ambitious marine protected areas in its territorial waters. The international advisory team of experts also included an ecologist from the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT).

On 1 January 2020, the island state of Palau implemented an unparalleled marine sanctuary in its territorial waters: the Palau National Marine Sanctuary. It is...

17.01.2020 | nachricht Read more

Scientists at TU Freiberg develop process for removing microplastics from wastewater

Together with partners from industry, the TU Bergakademie Freiberg will develop an innovative solution over the next two years to purify industrial wastewater and remove environmentally harmful microplastics. The process is also to be applied in the municipal sector at a later date.

Microplastics are becoming more and more widespread, especially in water. The term "microplastics" refers to plastic particles ranging in size from a few...

16.01.2020 | nachricht Read more

Improved Functioning of Diverse Landscape Mosaics

It is well-established that biodiverse ecosystems generally function better than monocultures. Ecologists at the University of Zurich have now shown that the same is true on a larger scale: Having a mix of different land-covers including grassland, forest, urban areas and water bodies improves the functioning and stability of a landscape – irrespective of the plant species diversity, region and climate.

To date, biodiversity research primarily focused on the number of plant species present in ecosystems. “Most studies so far have used small, artificially...

09.01.2020 | nachricht Read more

World's first 3D scanner for insect collections comes to the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

Scientists travel around the world to conduct research on insects. This means thousands of flight kilometres for ants, bees or beetles, some of which are millimetre in size. But thanks to the latest digitization technology, a few clicks on the computer will be enough to detect every tiny hair on a bee. This is made possible by the world's first 3D scanner for insects from museum collections, the so-called Darmstadt Insect Scanner (DISC3D). It finds its way into the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.

"Our task is to open our collection to science and for the good of mankind. In order to find answers to questions about insect mortality, for example, it is an...

18.12.2019 | nachricht Read more

Urban growth causes more biodiversity loss outside of cities

In a rapidly urbanizing world, the conversion of natural habitats into urban areas leads to a significant loss of biodiversity in cities. However, these direct effects of urban growth seem to be much smaller than the indirect effects outside of cities. An international team of researchers including researchers from The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and other institutions assessed the direct and indirect effects on a global scale. The results have been published in the journal Nature Sustainability.

We are living in the period of fastest urban growth in human history, with more than 2 billion additional people expected in cities by 2030 – a pace that is...

10.12.2019 | nachricht Read more

Wie ganze Ökosysteme langfristig auf die Erderwärmung reagieren

Reaktion auf längerfristige Erwärmung aus kurzen Experimenten nicht präzise genug vorauszusagen

Ein internationales Team unter Beteiligung des Ökologen Andreas Richter von der Universität Wien untersuchte in einem einzigartigen Experiment die Reaktionen...

10.12.2019 | nachricht Read more

Lights on fishing nets save turtles and dolphins

Placing lights on fishing nets reduces the chances of sea turtles and dolphins being caught by accident, new research shows.

LED lights along the top of floating gillnets cut accidental "bycatch" of sea turtles by more than 70%, and that of small cetaceans (including dolphins and...

06.12.2019 | nachricht Read more

For some corals, meals can come with a side of microplastics

Tiny microplastic particles are about as common in the ocean today as plastic is in our daily lives.

Synthetic clothing, containers, bottles, plastic bags and cosmetics all degrade and release microplastics into the environment. Corals and other marine...

04.12.2019 | nachricht Read more

McMaster researcher warns plastic pollution in Great Lakes growing concern to ecosystem

Research from a leading international expert on the health of the Great Lakes suggests that the growing intensity and scale of pollution from plastics poses serious risks to human health and will continue to have profound consequences on the ecosystem.

In an article published this month in the Journal of Waste Resources and Recycling, Gail Krantzberg, a professor in the Booth School of Engineering Practice...

28.11.2019 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A new look at 'strange metals'

For years, a new synthesis method has been developed at TU Wien (Vienna) to unlock the secrets of "strange metals". Now a breakthrough has been achieved. The results have been published in "Science".

Superconductors allow electrical current to flow without any resistance - but only below a certain critical temperature. Many materials have to be cooled down...

Im Focus: Programmable nests for cells

KIT researchers develop novel composites of DNA, silica particles, and carbon nanotubes -- Properties can be tailored to various applications

Using DNA, smallest silica particles, and carbon nanotubes, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) developed novel programmable materials....

Im Focus: Miniature double glazing: Material developed which is heat-insulating and heat-conducting at the same time

Styrofoam or copper - both materials have very different properties with regard to their ability to conduct heat. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz and the University of Bayreuth have now jointly developed and characterized a novel, extremely thin and transparent material that has different thermal conduction properties depending on the direction. While it can conduct heat extremely well in one direction, it shows good thermal insulation in the other direction.

Thermal insulation and thermal conduction play a crucial role in our everyday lives - from computer processors, where it is important to dissipate heat as...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer IAF establishes an application laboratory for quantum sensors

In order to advance the transfer of research developments from the field of quantum sensor technology into industrial applications, an application laboratory is being established at Fraunhofer IAF. This will enable interested companies and especially regional SMEs and start-ups to evaluate the innovation potential of quantum sensors for their specific requirements. Both the state of Baden-Württemberg and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are supporting the four-year project with one million euros each.

The application laboratory is being set up as part of the Fraunhofer lighthouse project »QMag«, short for quantum magnetometry. In this project, researchers...

Im Focus: How Cells Assemble Their Skeleton

Researchers study the formation of microtubules

Microtubules, filamentous structures within the cell, are required for many important processes, including cell division and intracellular transport. A...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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