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Ecology

Ecology (from Greek: οἶκος, "house" and -λογία, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment , . Ecology considers organisms at the individual, population, community, ecosystems, and biosphere level. Ecology overlaps with the closely related sciences of biogeography, evolutionary biology, genetics, ethology and natural history. Ecology is a branch of biology, and it is not synonymous with environmentalism.

Among other things, ecology is the study of:

  • Life processes, interactions, and adaptations
  • The movement of materials and energy through living communities
  • The successional development of ecosystems
  • Cooperation, competition and predation within and between species.
  • The abundance, biomass, and distribution of organisms in the context of the environment.
  • Patterns of biodiversity and its effect on ecosystem processes

Ecology has practical applications in conservation biology, wetland management, natural resource management (agroecology, agriculture, forestry, agroforestry, fisheries), city planning (urban ecology), community health, economics, basic and applied science, and human social interaction (human ecology).

The word "ecology" ("Ökologie") was coined in 1866 by the German scientist Ernst Haeckel, and it became a rigorous science in the late 19th century. Evolutionary concepts relating to adaptation and natural selection are cornerstones of modern ecological theory.

Ecosystems are dynamically interacting systems of organisms, the communities they make up, and the non-living components of their environment. Ecosystem processes, such as primary production, nutrient cycling, and niche construction, regulate the flux of energy and matter through an environment. Ecosystems have biophysical feedback mechanisms that moderate processes acting on living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) components of the planet. Ecosystems sustain life-supporting functions and provide ecosystem services like biomass production (food, fuel, fiber, and medicine), the regulation of climate, global biogeochemical cycles, water filtration, soil formation, erosion control, flood protection, and many other natural features of scientific, historical, economic, or intrinsic value. (Full article...)

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A tropical plant community on Diego Garcia

Plant ecology is a subdiscipline of ecology which studies the distribution and abundance of plants, the effects of environmental factors upon the abundance of plants, and the interactions among and between plants and other organisms. Examples of these are the distribution of temperate deciduous forests in North America, the effects of drought or flooding upon plant survival, and competition among desert plants for water, or effects of herds of grazing animals upon the composition of grasslands.

A global overview of the Earth's major vegetation types is provided by O.W. Archibold. He recognizes 11 major vegetation types: tropical forests, tropical savannas, arid regions (deserts), Mediterranean ecosystems, temperate forest ecosystems, temperate grasslands, coniferous forests, tundra (both polar and high mountain), terrestrial wetlands, freshwater ecosystems and coastal/marine systems. This breadth of topics shows the complexity of plant ecology, since it includes plants from floating single-celled algae up to large canopy forming trees. (Full article...)
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The carbon cycle is the biogeochemical cycle by which carbon is exchanged between the biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere of the Earth. Burning fossil fuels leads to the addition of extra carbon into the cycle over what naturally occurs and is a major cause of climate change.

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Entries here consist of Good and Featured articles, which meet a core set of high editorial standards.

Achieving sustainability will continue to make human life on Earth possible. The Blue Marble photograph, taken from Apollo 17 on 7 December 1972, quickly became an icon of environmental conservation.:7

Sustainability is the capacity to endure in a relatively ongoing way across various domains of life. In the 21st century, it refers generally to the capacity for Earth's biosphere and human civilization to co-exist. For many in the field, sustainability is defined through the interconnected domains of environment, economy and society, although efforts to extend its domains to other areas of human endeavors also exist. Sustainable development, for example. is often discussed through the domains of culture, technology and politics.

According to Our Common Future (Brundtland Report), sustainable development is defined as development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." (Full article...)

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Aziz Nacib Ab'Sáber (Portuguese pronunciation: [aˈziz naˈsib abˈsabeɾ]; October 24, 1924 March 16, 2012) was a geographer and one of Brazil's most respected scientists, honored with the highest awards of Brazilian science in geography, geology, ecology and archaeology. Graduated in geography, he was a president and honorary president of the Sociedade Brasileira para o Progresso da Ciência (Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science), Emeritus Professor of the University of São Paulo and member of the highest rank - Order Grão-Cruz in Earth Sciences - of the Academy of Science. Among the awards, he has received the UNESCO Prize on Science and the Environment in 2001 and the Prize to the Intellectual of Brazil in 2011.

The contributions of Ab'Saber to science range from the first research of oil camps in Brazil's northeast to surveys of Brazil's natural realms and the restoration of the history of forests, camps and primitive humans over geologic time in South America. He made central contributions to biology, South American archaeology, and to Brazilian ecology, geology and geography. He has published more than 480 works, most of them scientific publications. Among his scientific proposals are FLORAM, the Code of biodiversity and his theory of refuges related to the Amazones. (Full article...)

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... by astronomical convention, the four seasons are determined by the solstices—the point in the orbit of maximum axial tilt of the Earth toward or away from the Sun—and the equinoxes, when the direction of the tilt and the direction to the Sun are perpendicular?

(Pictured left: Animation of seasonal differences, particularly snow cover throughout the year)

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A human being is part of the whole, called by us "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole [of] nature in its beauty.
Albert Einstein

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Forest Ecology and Management is an international peer-reviewed journal that publishes articles linking forest ecology with the management of forest resources. The journal publishes research manuscripts that report results of original research, review articles, and book reviews. Articles may report work related to any forest ecosystems worldwide, including plantations and natural forests. (Full article...)

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