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Connection of ecology to other disciplines.

Subject, objects and structure of ecology.

Ecology – the scientific study about the interaction between living organisms and their environment


From Greek “oicos”means “home” and from Latin “logos” means “study”(“Study of home”).

This term was introduced by E. Heckel in 1868. Ecology was developed as a separate biological science in 1920s and as integrated science in 1950s.

! For comparison:Economics: “oicos” means “home” and “nomos” means “managing” (“Managing the house”).

Environment – anything outside the individual organism including the set of conditions experienced by an organism or a group of organisms.

Ecosystem –an ecological unit that includes all the interacting parts (living organisms and the environment) in an area (A. Tansley 1935).

Hierarchy of life

Cell – Tissue – Organ - Organ system – Organism (Species) – Populations – Communities - Ecosystem - Biosphere

Species – living organisms that are genetically alike and are able to breed to give a viable offspring.

Population – organisms of the same species that occupy the same area.

Community – living organisms of different populations in the same area.

Biosphere – all the life-supporting regions (ecosystems) on the Earth and all the interactions that occur among organisms and between organisms and the environment.

Autecology – the ecology of single species.

Demecology – the ecology of populations.

Synecology – the ecology of communities.

Global ecology – the ecology of biosphere.


The concept of sustainability

IPAT model (Paul Ehrlich 1968):

I = P × A × T , where

I – Environmental Impact

P – Population (Number of people)

A – Affluence (Consumption of resources per capita)

T – Technology (Environmental degradation and pollution)

Sustainable Development– the development that meets the needs of the present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Brundtland Commission 1987).

Sustainable Developmentrequires strategies that satisfy Social, Economic, and Environmental goals simultaneously.

The Ten Principles of Sustainable Development

Ecological principles

¢ Dependence

¢ Biophysical limits

¢ Living within limits

¢ Interdependence

Political/Economic principles

¢ Participation

¢ Cooperation

¢ Addressing the root causes

Social/Ethical Principles

¢ Intergenerational equity

¢ Intragenerational equity

¢ Ecological justice


Ecological laws and world ethical views.

Ecological Laws: Barry Commoner (1972):

ü Everything is connected to everything else

ü Everything must go somewhere

ü Nature knows better

ü There is no such thing as a “free lunch”

World views and ethical perspectives on environment (compare and contrast):

Philosophy Intrinsic (internal) Value Role of Humans
Anthropocentric Humans Masters
Stewardship Humans and nature Caretakers
Biocentric Species One of many
Ecocentric Ecosystems Sustainable users

Connection of ecology to other disciplines.

Biology Chemistry Geography Geology Mathematics Engineering Economics Physics History Sociology Political sciences Ethics

Date: 2016-01-14; view: 2025

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