Ecology is the scientific study of interactions between organisms and their environment. Environmental conservation is the practice of protecting the natural environment on individual, organizational or governmental levels for the benefit of both the natural world and humans.
The term "ecology" refers to any delicate or intricate system. As a science, ecology is an interdisciplinary field that includes biology and Earth science. An understanding of the effects of biodiversity is an important focus in ecological studies. The German scientist Ernest Haeckel coined the word "ecology" in 1866. Ancient historians and philosophers began the study of nature, but modern studies transformed the field into a rigorous science in the late 19th century. Ecology is closely related to evolutionary biology and genetics. Another branch of ecology known as “human ecology” concerns itself with the spacing and interdependence of people and institutions.
Environmental conservation, like ecology, is an interdisciplinary field. Academic institutions offer courses in environmental studies, environmental management and environmental history. The pressure of human activity and technology has degraded the natural environment. Since the 1960s, organizations and governments have placed restraints on activities that cause environmental degradation. There are disagreements about the extent of human impact on the environment, and some conservation methods are criticized.