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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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Surface clean-up technology won't solve ocean plastic problem

Clean-up devices that collect waste from the ocean surface won't solve the plastic pollution problem, a new study shows.

Researchers compared estimates of current and future plastic waste with the ability of floating clean-up devices to collect it - and found the impact of such...

04.08.2020 | nachricht Read more

Improving the monitoring of ship emissions

Developing new technologies for monitoring emissions from maritime traffic, such as soot or plastic debris, is the focus of a new EU project led by the University of Oldenburg, Germany.

A new EU-project has the aim to develop a sensor network to monitor emissions from ships.

03.08.2020 | nachricht Read more

Microplastics transport metallic pollutants: pursuing the Trojan horse

There are a relatively large number of studies on the accumulation and transport of persistent organic pollutants by microplastics, which has resulted in good data in this regard. Data, however, on the accumulation of metals that are toxic to the environment are very rare and sometimes scientifically unreliable. In cooperation with colleagues from the German Federal Institute of Hydrology and the Christian Albrechts University in Kiel (CAU), a team of scientists from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht – Centre for Materials and Coastal Research (HZG) have developed a method with which such metals can be reliably detected in microplastics. The results have now been published in PLOS ONE.

Microplastics in the environment are viewed as a global problem from more than one angle: on the one hand, laboratory tests have shown that the plastic...

24.07.2020 | nachricht Read more

Alternative: laser – new strategy in dealing with resistant weeds

Grasses such as slender meadow foxtail and windgrass have become an acute problem on agricultural land. In the event of severe infestation, farmers are threatened with having to take agricultural fields out of production altogether. To develop alternatives in the fight against weeds and herbicide resistance, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) is now testing a laser-based approach for its practicality in the LURUU research project together with two farmers from the Hannover region, the Netzwerk Ackerbau Niedersachsen e.V. (NAN) and the Plant Protection Office of the Lower Saxony Chamber of Agriculture (LWK).

The basis for the laser-based approach is a very accurate detection of weeds using a camera and an object recognition software. A laser is then supposed to...

23.07.2020 | nachricht Read more

Road access for all would be costly, but not so much for the climate

One of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals aims to ensure access to transport infrastructure for all. A team of researchers led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) has now brought together various data sets to quantify the economic costs as well as climate implications of achieving this goal by providing universal road access. The result: While such road extension would weigh very heavily on individual countries’ budgets, on the global CO2 emissions budget it would not.

To connect almost all the world’s population, the global road network would only need to be extended by 8 per cent, causing a total CO2 emissions of about 1.5...

10.07.2020 | nachricht Read more

Innovative grilling technique improves air quality

Restaurant owners are increasingly turning to fired charcoal grills to prepare meals for customers – but the odors and fumes emitted by these grills are often a source of irritation for nearby residents. The German Environment Agency asked a team of researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP to investigate whether the exhaust air treatment systems used in grills actually get the job done and to study ways of preventing pollutant and odor emissions.

Charcoal grills are becoming increasingly popular in restaurants, snack bars and other eateries in local areas across the country. The problem is that grilling...

01.07.2020 | nachricht Read more

Traffic density, wind and air stratification influence the load of the air pollutant nitrogen dioxide

Leipzig researchers use methods to calculate weather influences from air pollution data

In connection with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, satellite measurements made headlines showing how much the air pollutant nitrogen dioxide (NO2) had...

26.06.2020 | nachricht Read more

Pilot assistance system LNAS reduces noise in the approach path

During more than 90 approaches to Zurich Airport conducted under the leadership of the Swiss SkyLab Foundation, researchers from Empa and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) tested an assistance system that supports pilots via a display during quiet and, at the same time, fuel-efficient approaches. The results show a measurable reduction in noise emissions and fuel consumption. Now the system, developed by DLR, is to be made ready for production.

Approach and landing are among the most labour-intensive flight phases. Pilots have to manage airspeed, altitude, engine thrust, and the deployment of flaps,...

22.06.2020 | nachricht Read more

Seagrass meadows at the limit

Seagrass meadows are increasingly under threat from untreated sewage that is discharged into the sea. In a recent study published in Marine Environmental Research, biogeochemist Tim Jennerjahn from the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) and his team for the first time identify the critical point at which this habitat, which is so important for the environment, is irretrievably lost.

Seagrass meadows grow in the shallow coastal seas and cover an area of almost 18 million hectares worldwide. Some years ago, scientists estimated the economic...

18.06.2020 | nachricht Read more

The disease pyramid: environment, pathogen, individual and microbiome

Researchers from the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), the Université de Toulouse and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) show how the microbial colonisation of the organism influences the interactions between living organisms, the environment and pathogens, using amphibians like frogs as examples. This is basic research for health prophylaxis.

Biotic and abiotic environmental factors have a strong influence on the dynamics of diseases in humans and animals. In their study, the researchers focus on an...

12.06.2020 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: AI & single-cell genomics

New software predicts cell fate

Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...

Im Focus: TU Graz Researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications

“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.

Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...

Im Focus: Tailored light inspired by nature

An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.

Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...

Im Focus: NYUAD astrophysicist investigates the possibility of life below the surface of Mars

  • A rover expected to explore below the surface of Mars in 2022 has the potential to provide more insights
  • The findings published in Scientific Reports, Springer Nature suggests the presence of traces of water on Mars, raising the question of the possibility of a life-supporting environment

Although no life has been detected on the Martian surface, a new study from astrophysicist and research scientist at the Center for Space Science at NYU Abu...

Im Focus: Manipulating non-magnetic atoms in a chromium halide enables tuning of magnetic properties

New approach creates synthetic layered magnets with unprecedented level of control over their magnetic properties

The magnetic properties of a chromium halide can be tuned by manipulating the non-magnetic atoms in the material, a team, led by Boston College researchers,...

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