Meaning of Ecology
The term ‘Ecology’ is derived from Greek word ‘Oekologue’ which is composed of two words:
(a) ‘Oekos’ means surrounding
(b) ‘Logs’ means study on a whole ecology means ‘Study of surrounding’
The Scope of Ecological Study Includes:
1. It deals with the study of flow of energy and materials in the environment.
2. It deals with the study of nature and its function.
3. It deals with the exchange of various materials between the biotic and Abiotic components of environment. E.g.,Biogeochemical cycles.
The word "ecology" ("Ökologie") was coined in 1866 by the German scientist Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919). Ecological thought is derivative of established currents in philosophy, particularly from ethics and politics. Ancient Greek philosophers such as Hippocrates and Aristotle laid the foundations of ecology in their studies on natural history. Modern ecology became a much more rigorous science in the late 19th century. Evolutionary concepts relating to adaptation and natural selection became the cornerstones of modern ecological theory.
Ecology is that part of environmental studies in which we study about organisms, plants and animals and their relationship or interdependence on other living and non living environment.
Ecology can be defined as the branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings. It can also be defined as the scientific study of the interaction among organism and their environment. The word Ecology literally means “study of the house”. Ecology is a multi-dimensional science as it has relationship with the other branches of science such as Geography, Geology, Meteorology, Pedology, Physics and Chemistry. This inter-relation with other branches of science makes it one of the most important branch of science.
Ecology addresses the full scale of life, from tiny bacteria to processes that span the entire planet. Ecologists study many diverse and complex relations among species, such as predation and pollination. The diversity of life is organized into different habitats, from terrestrial (middle) to aquatic ecosystems.
Ecology is not synonymous with environment, environmentalism, natural history, or environmental science. It is closely related to evolutionary biology, genetics, and ethology.
Ecology is a human science as well. There are many practical applications of ecology 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). For example, the Circles of Sustainability approach treats ecology as more than the environment 'out there'. It is not treated as separate from humans. Organisms (including humans) and resources compose ecosystems which, in turn, maintain biophysical feedback mechanisms that moderate processes acting on living (biotic) and non-living (Abiotic) components of the planet. Ecosystems sustain life-supporting functions and produce natural capital 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.