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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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Green rooves to reduce the effects of climate change

Experts from the University of Seville highlight that these systems mean an energy saving for building owners, contribute to reducing pollution and cushioning temperatures

Researchers from the Higher Technical School of Agricultural Engineering of the University of Seville have published a study in which they indicate that it...

13.11.2017 | nachricht Read more

Cities can cut greenhouse gas emissions far beyond their urban borders

Greenhouse gas emissions caused by urban households’ purchases of goods and services from beyond city limits are much bigger than previously thought. These upstream emissions may occur anywhere in the world and are roughly equal in size to the total emissions originating from a city’s own territory, a new study shows. This is not bad news but in fact offers local policy-makers more leverage to tackle climate change, the authors argue in view of the UN climate summit COP23 that just started.

They calculated the first internationally comparable greenhouse gas footprints for four cities from developed and developing countries: Berlin, New York,...

07.11.2017 | nachricht Read more

Reducing manure and fertilizers decreases atmospheric fine particles

A decrease of agricultural ammonia emissions avoids mortality attributable to air pollution

Fine particulates have numerous sources – not only traffic, which is currently under particular scrutiny. Reducing agricultural emissions could also...

30.10.2017 | nachricht Read more

Flagship species could help protect freshwaters

Researchers at the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are investigating which animal species could become the focus of conservation measures as “imposing” flagship species in order to halt the decline of species and habitats in freshwaters. The current study emphasises how legitimate this flagship approach is: 83 per cent of all the world’s threatened freshwater species occur in the same areas as the “imposing” freshwater species examined within the study. However, almost 60 per cent of these potential flagship species are themselves already on the Red List of Threatened Species.

About one third of all animal species around the world are threatened. But even so, it is mainly the imposing, large terrestrial and marine animals such as...

26.10.2017 | nachricht Read more

Preservation of floodplains is flood protection

The silting of rivers and streams leads to problems for fish, mussels, and other aquatic organisms because their habitats disappear. However, not only intensive agriculture and erosion are destroying these habitats. Now a study conducted by researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) refutes this wide-spread view. In order to save the species living in the river basin – and protect people from the threat of devastating floods – rivers need more space, diversity, and freedom.

The subject of the study was the Moosach, a tributary of the Isar and located right at the Weihenstephaner “doorstep” of the TUM. The Moosach largely flows...

27.09.2017 | nachricht Read more

Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed

More than one hundred experts all around the world demand for conservation actions

Parrots are among the most endangered species. Already since the 1990s it is a fact that one third of the parrot species from Central and South America is...

15.09.2017 | nachricht Read more

A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index

Marine biologist from Warnemünde presents indicator for the state of foodwebs in the Baltic Sea on the basis of long-term data series on the composition of spring blooms

The European Union declared it their target to re-establish a „good ecological status“ in European seas by 2020. Quite a challenging task! But what actually is...

21.08.2017 | nachricht Read more

Value from wastewater

Sewage sludge contains lots of valuable elements which are prized as fertiliser for use in agriculture. Phosphorus in particular is an important nutrient for plants. Researchers at Landshut University of Applied Sciences are therefore looking at ways in which wastewater treatment facilities can use sewage sludge effectively, particularly in rural areas. They are doing this in conjunction with partners based in the Czech Republic.

The sludge that settles in sedimentation tanks is full of valuable substances like phosphorus, nitrogen or potassium. For this reason, it is often used in...

16.08.2017 | nachricht Read more

Species Richness – a false friend? Scientists want to improve biodiversity assessments

Assessing the state of an ecosystem solely on the basis of short-term changes in the number of different species it contains can lead to false conclusions. This is according to a new analysis by an international team including researchers of the Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity (HIFMB) at the University of Oldenburg and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv). In order to assess ecosystems in a way that is meaningful for nature conservation, experts should instead analyse the turnover of species within a system. The research, based on a mathematical model and environmental data analysis, is published online in the "Journal of Applied Ecology".

A growing number of species are under threat of extinction – in particular due to global environmental changes. Political instruments such as the International...

01.08.2017 | nachricht Read more

Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping

How can we ensure forest protection and sustainable forest biomass production at the same time? A first-ever global map of certified forest areas, based on a participatory and collaborative mapping approach, contributes to the answer.

Using forest biomass products—such as timber, fuel wood, or paper—in a sustainable manner, without exhausting resources or diminishing forest biodiversity,...

27.06.2017 | nachricht Read more
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Im Focus: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

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