Ecology is not synonymous with the environment

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modern ecological theory. Ecology is not synonymous with the environment, environmentalism, natural history, or environmental science. An understanding of how biodiversity affects ecological function is an important focus area in ecological studies. Ecologists seek to explain: Life processes, interactions, and adaptations The movement of materials and energy through living communities The successional development of ecosystems The abundance and distribution of organisms and biodiversity in the context of the environment. Ecology is a human science as well. There are many practical applications of ecology in conservation biology, wetland management, natural resource manage- ment, city planning (urban ecology), community health, economics, basic and applied science, and human social interaction (human ecology). Organisms and resources compose ecosystems, which, in turn, maintain biophysical feedback mechanisms that moderate processes acting on living (biotic) and nonliving (abi- otic) components of the planet. Ecosystems sustain life-supporting functions and produce natural capital, such as biomass production (food, fuel, fi ber, and medi- cine), the regulation of climate, global biogeochemical cycles, water fi ltration, soil formation, erosion control, ood protection, and many other natural features of scienti fi c, historical, economic, or intrinsic value (Odum and Barrett 2005 ). This chapter discusses the use of various nonsustainable materials in the textile industry, the development of a large number of eco-labels to assure the nonuse of such substances, and con fi rmation of the sustainability of textile processes and products. 2 Textile and Ecology Since prehistoric times, textiles have been produced by human beings. Textile manufacturing developed empirically based on previous experiences and randomly acquired knowledge; many professionals kept their manufacturing experiences secret. Technology stagnated, while the rate of developments and improvements in 138 A.K. Roy Choudhury
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manufacture was extremely slow. For a long time, there was no scienti fi c approach to textile manufacture. Signi fi cant developments in the textile industry started by the end of the 18th century. Increased demand for textiles initiated investigations into ways to improve production. A series of inventions followed in the fi eld of textile machinery and textile chemistry, as well as the introduction of new machines for manufacturing. These machines marked the beginnings of the Industrial Rev- olution. By the middle of the 19th century, arti fi cial dyestuffs and the mercerization process were invented, which paved the way for a more scienti fi c approach to textile fi nishing and dyeing. At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, these fi elds were marked by full industrial development. Environ- ment pollution by this type of manufacturing presented no serious threat because textile manufacture at the time was much smaller, as was the population that used its products. Additionally, the chemicals used were mostly of natural origin (e.g.
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