Very often a word has a precise well-defined meaning in scientific literature but is loosely used in everyday language. It is, therefore, necessary for you to be clear about a few concepts and definitions before we begin the study of ecology.
Ecology is a familiar term today. Although ecological studies have been going on for many years, however, it is only recently that people have become aware of ecology as a part of their daily life. These days newspapers and magazines provide ample space to highlight the nature and the consequences of man's impact on nature- deforestation, soil erosion. the Bhopal gas tragedy, the Chernobyl disaster, ozone hole, global wanping and many other problems. Public outcry about slich problems clearly emphasises the relevance of ecology for our society. Ecology is now a well-developed branch of science having increasing importance to human welfare and survival.
The term ecology was coined only as late as 1868. It has been derived from two Greek words namely, 'Oikos' meaning home or estate and 'logos' meaning study. Literally it means the study of the home or household of nature. Ecology is defined 'as the scientific study of the relationship of the living organisms with each other and with their environment.'
Ecological studies are aimed to understand the relationships of organisms with their environment. This could be best achieved by extensive field observations and experimental studies to verify the field observations.