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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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Robotic fish to replace animal testing

Scientists are developing alternative methods for assessing the fish-friendliness of hydroelectric power plants

Over the next three years, scientists at the Otto von Guericke University of Magdeburg will be working on replacing live animals with robotic fish in tests...

17.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

Marine oil snow

UD's Andrew Wozniak investigates consequences of Deepwater Horizon oil spill

If you were able to stand on the bottom of the seafloor and look up, you would see flakes of falling organic material and biological debris cascading down the...

12.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

Climate driving new right whale movement

Scientists discover that rapid warming in the gulf of maine's depths is changing food availability and increasing risk to one of the world's most endangered animals

New research connects recent changes in the movement of North Atlantic right whales to decreased food availability and rising temperatures in Gulf of Maine's...

29.05.2019 | nachricht Read more

Treatment of saline wastewater during algae utilization

Algae farming is widespread in China. The macroalgae Laminaria is mainly used for food in China but its bioactive ingredients are also used, for example, in cosmetics, dietary supplements or as an additive to animal food. The industrial processing of Laminaria produces wastewater with a salinity of around 20 percent. A team led by Dr. Laurenz Thomsen, Professor of Geosciences at Jacobs University, and Postdoc Dr. Song Wang wants to clean this high-salinity wastewater with microalgal technology.

The cooperation partner is Shandong Haizhibao Ocean Science and Technology Co Ltd. Haizhibao is currently the biggest provider for macroalgae in China, with...

14.05.2019 | nachricht Read more

Plastic gets a do-over: Breakthrough discovery recycles plastic from the inside out

Scientists from Berkeley Lab have made a next-generation plastic that can be recycled again and again into new materials of any color, shape, or form

Light yet sturdy, plastic is great - until you no longer need it. Because plastics contain various additives, like dyes, fillers, or flame retardants, very few...

07.05.2019 | nachricht Read more

Loss of habitat causes double damage to species richness

Loss and fragmentation of habitat are among the main reasons why biodiversity is decreasing in many places worldwide. Now, a research team with participation of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) has established that the destruction of habitat causes double damage to biodiversity; if habitat patches disappear, not only do the species living there become extinct, but species richness in neighbouring patches also declines. The reason for this additional species loss is the large physical distances between the remaining habitat patches, the researchers write in the journal Ecology Letters.

For their study, scientists from the iDiv research centre, the Uni Halle and the WasserCluster Lunz research centre in Austria used long-term data on the...

02.04.2019 | nachricht Read more

Deep decarbonization of industry is possible with innovations

On behalf of the EU Commission, Fraunhofer ISI explored what contribution individual technologies can make to decarbonizing industry and how to support them. The study shows that it is possible to cut emissions by 95% by 2050. However, this requires innovative carbon-neutral technologies and comprehensive technological change – especially in basic materials industries. In addition, Fraunhofer ISI examined the role of an innovation fund to aid the market diffusion of these technologies using revenue from the EU emissions trading system.

Industry is responsible for about 20 percent of the EU-wide greenhouse gas emissions. It will have to reduce its emissions to almost zero by 2050 to meet the...

25.03.2019 | nachricht Read more

Five-point plan to integrate recreational fishers into fisheries and nature conservation policy

There are roughly five times as many recreational fishers as commercial fishers throughout the world. And yet, the needs and peculiarities of these 220 million recreational fishers have largely been ignored in international fisheries and conservation policy. This gives rise to conflicts and loss of social welfare, and is not conducive to the sustainable management of fish stocks. An international team of fisheries scientists, economists, sociologists and ecologists led by Robert Arlinghaus from the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) has now presented a five-point plan to bring about reform.

Compared to commercial fishing, the social, economic and ecological importance of recreational fisheries is greatly underestimated in public and political...

20.03.2019 | nachricht Read more

Rain is important for how carbon dioxide affects grasslands

Vegetation biomass on grasslands increases in response to elevated carbon dioxide levels, but less than expected. Vegetation on grasslands with a wet spring season has the greatest increase. This has been demonstrated in a new study published in the scientific journal Nature Plants.

An important, but uncertain, factor in climate research is the extent to which all ecosystems can accumulate carbon from the increasing atmospheric...

06.03.2019 | nachricht Read more

Northeast-Atlantic fish stocks: Recovery driven by improved management

Sustainable exploitation of wild fish is possible, but only when fisheries policies are implemented that ensure precautionary catch regulations

Due to overcapacities in fishing fleets and insufficiently regulated catches, many fish stocks in the Northeast-Atlantic had reached very low levels by the end...

04.02.2019 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Successfully Tested in Praxis: Bidirectional Sensor Technology Optimizes Laser Material Deposition

The quality of additively manufactured components depends not only on the manufacturing process, but also on the inline process control. The process control ensures a reliable coating process because it detects deviations from the target geometry immediately. At LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be demonstrating how well bi-directional sensor technology can already be used for Laser Material Deposition (LMD) in combination with commercial optics at booth A2.431.

Fraunhofer ILT has been developing optical sensor technology specifically for production measurement technology for around 10 years. In particular, its »bd-1«...

Im Focus: The hidden structure of the periodic system

The well-known representation of chemical elements is just one example of how objects can be arranged and classified

The periodic table of elements that most chemistry books depict is only one special case. This tabular overview of the chemical elements, which goes back to...

Im Focus: MPSD team discovers light-induced ferroelectricity in strontium titanate

Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.

Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...

Im Focus: Determining the Earth’s gravity field more accurately than ever before

Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.

The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...

Im Focus: Tube anemone has the largest animal mitochondrial genome ever sequenced

Discovery by Brazilian and US researchers could change the classification of two species, which appear more akin to jellyfish than was thought.

The tube anemone Isarachnanthus nocturnus is only 15 cm long but has the largest mitochondrial genome of any animal sequenced to date, with 80,923 base pairs....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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