Ecology and the built environment
Ecology is the study of the relationship between organisms and their physical environment. It provides information about the benefits of ecosystems and how humans can utilise the earth’s resources in a sustainable way.
Ecology is a multidisciplinary science and can be divided into the four main areas:
- Physiological ecology – the response of a single species to environmental conditions.
- Population ecology – the factors that affect the abundance and distribution of organisms.
- Community ecology – species found in a location and their interactions.
- Ecosystem ecology – the structure and function of the ecosystem and organisms within it.
The term ‘ecology’ was first used by the German zoologist Ernst Haeckel and comes from the Greek word oikos which means “household”, “home”, or “ place to live”. It evolved from the natural history of the ancient Greeks.
- Appreciation of the world we live in.
- Economics and the exploitation of natural resources, for example in fisheries, forestry, agriculture etc.
- It provides an insight into human societies and the way we live.
- It helps provide an understanding of how humans are changing the world.
The subject of ecology is not limited to just the terrestrial environment, it is also concerned with marine environments, lakes and streams,
Planning authorities have a duty to consider biodiversity when assessing planning applications. When a planning proposal is reasonably likely to affect species or habitats, an ecological assessment will be required. The ecological assessment will consider the development site with an appropriate buffer zone and should identify features including:
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- Ecological survey.
- Planning application.
- Protected species.
- Biodiversity offsetting.
- Ecological impact assessment.
- Eco-Management and Audit Scheme.
- Environmental Impact Assessment.
- Environmental plan.
- Environmental policy.
- Japanese knotweed.
- Preliminary ecological appraisal.
- Strategic ecology framework SEF.
- Tree preservation order.
 External references
Featured articles and news
3 ways the world’s fastest growing economies can close the infrastructure gap.
The sooner early warning notices can be appreciated as of mutual benefit rather than one-sided advantage, the better.
BSRIA responds to government green storage announcement.
What is phenomenology and how does it relate to the built environment?
Read about Belgrade's Brutalist landmark - the Western City Gate.
Read about the measures that can be taken by individuals to protect and minimise exposure to outdoor sourced air pollution.
Government announces leaseholds on new-build houses will be banned.
Transport Secretary announces public consultation into London's funding of Crossrail 2.
Have a look at some of the most impressive concert stage designs of all time, including Pink Floyd, U2, Rolling Stones, and more...
What is the Home Quality Mark? Find out how it can help you when buying/renting a new home.
Business Secretary launches £246m Faraday Challenge to establish UK as world leader in battery technology.
Government announces new plans for regulations to improve safety and security awareness of drone users.
Read our introductory article to the various different types of fuel.