Ecology, Natural Resources and Conservation

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IT is not an obscure fact that plants and animals are dependent on each other for survival and hence influence each other’s existence. Whether this influence is for the detrimental or benign of the environment is for the ecologists to decide. Ecologists observe the effects of human intervention in the environment and work for the benefit of the overall good that is the well being of the planet. But what exactly is ecology and how is it helpful?

Ecology is the branch of science which deals with the study of households of nature. Ecology is derived from the Greek word oikos meaning ”house" or "living relations" and logy meaning "study of" is the scientific study of the distributions, abundance and relations of organisms and their interactions with the surrounding environment. Ecology deals with the study of plants and animals and their interactions with each other and with the environment in which they live. So, more precisely the ecology can be described like – Human Ecology, Plant Ecology, Animal Ecology etc.

Human ecology can be defined as “interaction between people and their environment”.Plant ecology and animal ecology can be defined in the same way. For example, we live in a society or in a village or in city. So the ecology in this case will be the relationship of people of a village or a society or a city with their environment which consists of biotic and abiotic factors.

What is Environment? Environment is everything that is present around a living being, for example around people, animals and plants.

The environment is a natural unit consisting of plants, animals and micro-organisms (biotic factors) in an area functioning together with all of the non-living physical (abiotic factors). So the biotic part of an environment consists of  all living organisms and abiotic consists of non-biological factor rocks, soil, sunlight, water.etc.

All useful materials that we get directly from earth are known as natural resources. They are called natural resources because they occur naturally, which means the most dominant species on earth that is humans cannot make natural resources. The humans only use and modify natural resources in ways that are beneficial to all of us. Some examples of natural resources are – air, coal, minerals, natural gas, oil, water, sunlight, plants and animals. So plants and animals are biological resources. Assemblage of plants and animals in any given area is called biodiversity. Biodiversity is very important for proper development of any area, region, country and the planet on which we live.

Biodiversity is used for a variety for purposes – for example – for our food, meat, medicine, cloth, shelter, so on and so forth. Humans make all possible use of biodiversity for their survival and development. But due to overexploitation of biodiversity by humans for various purposes the biodiversity is under severe threat. Due to this many of the species on the planet earth are vanishing very fast, some are on the verge of extinction and many are extinct. If we lose species this affects the entire functioning of environment. For example just think about a forest where deer population exists on which tiger survives. If all deer are killed or taken to some other area what will happen to the tiger? If deer are taken out of that forest what will happen to grass on which deer were feeding which now will grow in an uncontrolled way and will impact the survival of other species of plants in that particular forest ecosystem? This is what an ecosystem is- the inter relationship between biotic and abiotic environment in a particular area.

Human intervention in the environment is exceedingly becoming disastrous and is therefore affecting the biodiversity in the wrong way by posing a threat to the biodiversity which we know is essential for the survival of species. Therefore, the need is to give utmost attention to the conservation of biodiversity – plants and animals of the planet on which we live.

Author:  Prof  Sunil Nautiyal, Head, Centre for Ecological Economics and Natural Resources (CEENR), Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) , Nagarabhavi, Bangalore;  Email:; sunil@isec.

Posted By : ScienceIndia Administrator
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So harshith

Very useful for doing projects

Posted on : 22-03-2018 06:15:23