Friday, 30 March 2018

Life And Works Of Robert Frost

Life And Works Of Robert Frost 

Robert Frost was born in California where his father, a journalist with political aspirations and a dissatisfied northeaster, had moved. He was an occasionally violent man and developed in Frost a lifelong wariness towards destructive impulses. His mother was Scottish and wrote poetry. Through her Frost became acquainted with the Romantic poets as well as New England poets like Emerson. She also introduced him to organized Christian religion.

Frost’s father died in 1885, the family returned to New England, and Frost finished high school from Lawrence, Massachusetts, (studying classics) as the class valedictorian. Three years later he married his classmate and fellow valedictorian, Eleanor White. Frost studied for a short time at Dartmouth College, taught in schools, and then enrolled as a special student at Harvard (1897-1899) where he was influenced by William James and George Santayana. He took courses in English, philosophy and the classics. From Harvard he entered completely different world. His grandfather had Left him a farm in New Hampshire and Frost, his wife and his four children endured years of hardship there. While he was struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide Frost was also composing poetry and establishing a close link with nature.. In the years 1906-7 he wrote many of the poems that would later appear in North of Boston and Mountain 1ntervi (1916). In 1909 Frost left the farm to teach in New Hampshire; From there he sold his farm and moved to England in 1912 because he was unable to find publishers for his work in the land of his birth. Within a month of his arrival in England he was able to publish his poems and North of Boston won varies from Ezra Pound. , Within two years his volumes had appeared in America and he won a number of honors, including election to the National Institute of Arts and Letters.

Frost rewarmed to New England in 1915 and started teaching in Amherst College two years later. He was obviously making a commitment to a tradition and a particular location. Kipling had already pointed out that Frost’s language sounded strange to English readers; Frost regarded this as an advantage--he felt his language had the “freshness of a stranger,” and that strangeness, be it in language or metaphor. is intrinsic to poetry. Critics suggest that Frost’s poetry sounds unfamiliar even to those Americans outside new England and of course we in India would feel no differently. There were a number of sources form Frost inherited the technique of using the ordinary to suggest something other than itself: the Bible, the classics, the poetry of Wordsworth, and New England writers such as Thoreau or Emerson. 14e admired Emerson’s use of simplicity to suggest profound meanings. The classical pastoral tradition and the Romantic tradition of poetry about nature were in his hands refashioned by the use of New England vocabulary and turns of phrase. Rather than the fine arts or music that influenced a poet like Wallace Stevens Frost was more drawn to science and philosophy. He was not as radical an experimenter as Ezra Pound. He felt poets ought to develop links between sound and sense and emotion. Metre was important too, but ils rigidity should be qualified by the rhythms of actual speech. (14e was a master in the use of a number of verse forms, however, rhymed couplets, the sonnet, blank verse and rhyming quatrains.) Drama, also, was vital for it made writing “unboring,” but poetry should contain no excesses--the effect should be a carefully controlled one. He called the poem in its beauty and its slow, dignified exploration of reality, “a momentary stay against confusion” (Selected Prose 36. Norton 1102). A poem is an affirmative entity for it springs from belief, be it belief in God, in the poet’s own self, in art or in the nation.

His important poems were all written before 1930. While his first priority was Robert Frost! always poetry he also made time to teach and to read his poems in public. He was associated the longest with Amherst (1917-20, 1923-38, 1949) but he also spent time at Michigan and Dartmouth and Harvard. He helped to establish the famous Bread Loaf School of English in Middlebury College, Vermont. He was a very popular teacher. I-Je won four Pulitzer prizes before the publication of two ambitious philosophical poems, The Masque of Reason (1945) and The Masque of Mercy . (1947). In the Clearing (1962) was his ‘last work. He won many honors, including honorary degrees from Oxford and Cambridge universities in 1957, and last but not least the invitation to read a poem at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961 where he recited “The Gift Outright” from memory.

Mending Wall” Text of Poem

1. Text of Poem 1 

Wall Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:  5
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone ,
But they Would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,   10
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
Let my neighbor know beyond the bill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go   15
To each the boulders that have, fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls.
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’
We war our fingers rough with handling them.   20
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where ii is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am app le orchard.
My apple trees will never get across   25
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him:
I-le oily says, “Good fences make good neighbors’.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder ‘
If I could put a notion in his head:
‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it   30
Where ‘there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know,.
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,   35
That wants it down. I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather . . .
he said it for himself. I see him there, ,
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top, ‚   ‘9
in, each hand, like an old stone savage armed - 4C
He moves in darkness. As it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
• He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well ‘
He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’   45

2. Mending Wall” Critical Appreciation 

In this poem Frost takes a very ordinary incident, building or repairing a wail - between his neighbor’s garden and his, and turns it into a meditation on the divisions between human beings. While his neighbor believes that “Good fences make good neighbors,” Frost questions this point-of-view. According to him land should be shared with trust and a mutual ‘understanding. Walls give him a sense of being “walled in” or “walled out” that is ‘cut off from his immediate environment’ and he does not enjoy this. there are no cows to stray from his graded info his neighbor’s-- why then,.’ the wall, the fence?

From this ordinary incident Frost wants to suggest deeper meanings about the way human beings intrinsically distrust each other even when there is no reason to do so and how these suspicions should be replaced by trust and mutual good will. While his neighbor believes “Good fences make good neighbors,” Frost keeps thinking, , “Something there is that doesn’t loye a wall.” When one notes the year, 1914, in which this poem is composed one cannot help relate it to the outbreak of the First ,. World War. It is the same sensibility of building walls and fences, of protecting one’s property, of suspecting one’s neighbors, that can take place even on a global basis and lead to wars. . Trust and fellow feeling can go a long way in avoiding this sort of ‘ a situation. ,

‘ . Note the masterly way in which Frost uses the rhythms of the speaking voice and his understated style. His poetry helped evolve a new voice for modern poetry so that poetry sounded effortless, shorn of any deliberate poetic ornamentation, was meditative. ‘In his hands poetry took on some of the qualities of prose.

3. “Mending Wall” Notes 

“Mending Wall” 1914 
L1 -4 Here Frost is showing how nature dislikes the concept of walls or barriers and ‘‘-tries to break through walls and make gaps that at least two people can pass through. There is something unnatural about walls. ,

L1O”No one.. .made” Here Frost suggests the mysteriousness of these gaps in the ‘ wall--they were not made by hunters. Nature itself seems to be ranking them in protest against its laws of freedom and sharing and property common to all which human beings do not follow. ‘ L24”He is all pine. Orchard” Frost means that his neighbor has mainly pine trees on his land while Frost has apple frees. Perhaps he also means to suggest that his neighbor does not believe in growing trees which give fruit, and thus food and pleasure. Also, pines are rather prickly--rather like Frost’s neighbor who insists on everything being just so and on. Every gap in the w211 being “ ended.

L36 “elves” Elves are tiny supernatural creatures drawn from fo klore and myth. ‘3v ‘this word Frost wants to suggest to his neighbor that some. On-human., agency is protesting about the existence of this wall and wants it to be broken down. But rather than suggesting it to his neighbor Frost wishes his neighbor had enough 10 ‘ imagination -to think of it himself--”I’d rather/ He said it for himself” (L.37-38).


1. Text of poem II

When [see birches bend’ to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.
But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay
As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning ‘   5
After a rain. They. Click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored.
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells   10
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust-
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed   15
So low for Long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods p
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair.
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.   20
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
I should prefer to have some boy bend them,
As he went out and in to fetch the cows-
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,   25
Whose only play was what he found himself.
Summer or winter, and could play alone.’
One by one he subdued his father’s tree
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,   30
And not one but hung limp, not one was left.
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon,
And so no carrying the tree away ‘
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise.   35
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,.
Kicking his ‘way down through the air to the ground.   40
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be. ‘
It’s when I’m weary of considerations, “-
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face bums and tickles with the cobwebs   45
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig’s having lashed across it open.
I’d like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me   50
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away,.
Not to return;-. Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.
I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk   55
Toward heaven, till the tree could bar no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
Flat would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches; .

2. “Birches” Critical Appreciation 

The first part of this poem (LI-41) consists of a fairly straightforward nature description. Frost speaks of the many different appearances of birches in summer and in wintry weather. Frost imagines a rural boy climbing the birch free, a boy who. lives too. far from town to enjoy baseball, and whose only entertainment is nature (Frost draws on his own childhood memories as a “swinger of birches” here). He says he longs for the return of those innocent pursuits.

In the next part of the poem (L43f1) Frost compares life’s difficulties and hardships to the difficulties of walking through a “pathless wood” and says that he longs to get away from the pressures of life, not in the sense of dying, but in the sense of climbing a birch tree, tipping its branches towards heaven, and then returning to earth. By this metaphor Frost wants to suggest he wants to be able to return to the innocence and beauty of nature, to let nature refresh him, and then to return to the everyday grind of life on earth. He does not dislike earth—-”Earth’s the right place for love”--but a refreshing-dose of birch-climbing would be a welcome respite. . ‘ . The influence of the English Romantic poet Wordsworth, who composed The ‘ Prelude, on this poem is marked--we have the same fond recollection of a childhood closeness to nature, the same sense of oppression of an adult life spent apart from nature and the same sense of nature’s rejuvenating energy.

Note the effectiveness with which Frost captures the rhythms and the locutions of the speaking voice with the use of the first person singular and conversational phrases like “Often you must have seen them” (LS) or “You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen” (L 13) or “But I was going to say when Truth broke in/With all her matter- of-fact about the ice-storm! I should prefer to have some boy bend them” (L21-23) or “I don’t know where it’s likely to go better” (LS 3) or the last line “One could do worse than be a swinger of birches” (LS 9). One gets a strong sense of the speaker and with the repetition of the word “you,” the reader is also invited into the-world of the poem and made to feel comfortable there. The atmosphere’ of the poem bec6mes confidential and, intimate.

3. “Birches” Notes 

“Birches” (1916) . 
Title: Birches are smooth-barked, slender-branched northern forest trees L9 “enamel” Frost uses a metaphor here. He compares the shiny birch bark to enamel which is a glass-like coating of metallic surfaces for the purpose of ornament or for preservation. By this metaphor he expresses the shiny beauty of the birch bark. .

L12 “broken glass” Another metaphor. The snow crystals are compared to bits of broken glass because of their transparency and their sharpness.

L14 “bracken” Fern abundant on heaths

L19-20 “Like girls...sun’’ This is a simile which compares the arched trunks of the Robert Frost birches trailing their leaves on the ground to girls who throw their wet hair over their faces in order to dry it. This simile brings out the delicacy and the vulnerability of the birches.

L44 “life is too much...wood” A simile which compares life, with its enigmas and its hardships to a forest in which there is no clearly-marked path. One may easily lose one’s direction.

JAS-47 “Where your face... open” Frost adds a metaphor to the simile and compares the physical hardships of trekking through a pathless forest to the rigors, physical and emotional, of life. The word “weeping” suggests that the tears do not come simply as a result of a cut or bruise but because of some inner sorrow.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Components and Types Ecosystem

Ecosystem Plants, animals and human beings live in association with a wide variety of other plants and ‘ animals. These communities of organisms are not mere ad hoc collections of individuals or populations but they represent a highly ordered dynamic and complex organization. Such complex natural organization with their living and non-living environments that controls them and from which the living organisms derive their sustenance are technically called as “Ecosystem” or an “ecological system”.

The interaction between living organisms and their environment is very much a two way process: organisms affect and are in turn affected by their surroundings. Professor Arthur Tansley, a British botanist, in 1935 proposed the term ecosystem and defined it as the “system resulting from the integration of all living and non-living factors of the environment”. he regarded ecosystem as not only the organism complex but also the whole complex of physical factors forming the environment. 

The concept of this interacting system has proved extremely valuable and the ecosystem is regarded as a basic unit for ecological studies.

Components of Ecosystem 

The components of the’ ecosystem can be categorized into abiotic or non-living and biotic or living components;

 Abiotic components: The important abiotic components are
  •  Energy: basically from the sun is essential for maintenance of life. In the case of plants, the sun directly supplies the necessary energy. Since animals’ cannot use solar energy directly they obtain it indirectly by eating plants or animals or both. Energy determines the distribution of organisms in the environment 
  • Materials: (a) organic compound-proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, humic substances which are formed from inorganic subsistence reconverted into them on . : decomposition. (b) Inorganic compounds — oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, carbon dioxide, water, Sulphur, negates, phosphates, and ions of various metals are essential for Organisms to survive. -. ______
  • Climatic factors: light, heat, temperature, wind, humidity, rainfall. snowfall etc. 
  • Edaphic factors (structure and composition of soil along with its physical and chemical characteristics) ; also exert significant influence on the organisms. 
Biotic components: Biotic components include living organisms comprising plants, animals and decomposers and are classified according to (heir functional attributes into producers and consumers.
  • Producers-  Autotrophs (self-nourishing) are green plants as they synthesis carbohydrates from simple inorganic raw materials like carbon dioxide and water in the presence of sunlight by the process of photosynthesis for themselves, and indirectly for other .non-producers. In terrestrial ecosystem, producers are basically herbaceous and woody L plants while in marine and fresh water ecosystems producers are various species of ;: microscopic algae. Chemosynthetic bacteria are also producers. However, unlike plants : which constitute the major producers, these bacteria, which are found in deep ocean trenches where sun energy is absent, derive energy by the process of chemosynthetic from the : hydrogen sulphide seeping through cracks in the sea floor. 
  • Consumers- Heterotrophs (other nourishing) am incapable of photosynthesis and depend on organic food derived from animals, plants or both. Consumers can be divided into two broad groups namely macro and micro consumers. (i) Macro consumers or phototrophs feed on plants or animals or both and are categorized on the basis of their food sources. Herbivores are primary consumer which feed mainly on plants e.g. cow, rabbit Carnivores feed only on animals. Secondary consumers feed on primary consumers e.g. wolves. Carnivores which feed on secondary consumers are called tertiary consumer e.g. lions which can eat wolves. Organisms which consume both plants and animals are called omnivores e.g. men. (ii) Micro consumers — Saprotrophs (decomposers or osmotrophs) are chiefy:’ bacteria and fungi which obtain energy and nutrients by decomposing dead organic substances (detritus) of plant and animal origin. Some of the products of decomposition such as inorganic nutrients released in the ecosystem are reused by producers and thus recycled. Earthworm and certain soil organisms such as nematodes, and arthropods are also detritus feeders and help in the decomposition of organic matter. 

Size of Ecosystem 

As you know an ecosystem may be as small and as simple as a cow dung pad or as complex and large as an ocean or the biosphere itself, comprising a wide variety of species. An interesting point to observe is that ecosystems occur within ecosystem. To take an example, cow dung ecosystem may be contained in a forest ecosystem which is contained in the biosphere.  

In some cases, like a pond ecosystem, the boundaries are well defined. In the case of forests, grasslands and deserts there are no sharp boundaries. These ecosystems often are separated from adjacent ecosystems by a transition zone or a diffused boundary zone called ecotone. Organisms of adjacent ecosystems intermingle in the ecotone zone; consequently they may have greater diversity of species than the neighboring ecosystems. 

Types of Ecosystem

Basically ecosystems are of two types: terrestrial and aquatic. If you travel from plains to the mountains in the Himalayas, you notice significant changes in the landscape. Deserts, grasslands, crop fields, forests and glaciers represent different terrestrial ecosystems. Oceans, estuaries, mangroves, coastal marshes, rivers, lakes, ponds and swamps are examples of aquatic ecosystem. Ecosystems can also be grouped into two categories, namely natural and artificial or man made as shown below:

Types of Ecosystem

Natural and Artificial Ecosystem 

  • Natural ecosystems are those which are mostly free from human disturbances, such as tropical forests, grasslands, oceans, lakes and deserts. 
  • Artificial or man-modified ecosystems are formed as à result of human modification of the natural ecosystems. For example, man has transformed natural forests and grasslands into crop fields. An extreme example of an artificial ecosystem is a city. Increasing human interference has destroyed many natural ecosystems and replaced them with artificial ecosystems, such as crop fields, urban centres and industrial estates.
All ecosystems are fully integrated with the neighboring ecosystems and communicate with each other in varying degrees through’ the import and export of both energy and nutrients.

An ecosystem is a dynamic system characterized by energy flow and nutrients cycling. Substances constantly flow through it, and there are sufficient supplies of energy within the ecosystem to allow for this flow to take place. See Fig 1.2 Ecosystems also possess considerable self-regulating ability, called homeostasis, due to which they lend to recover from minor perturbations. Fig 1.2 A diagram illustrating the manner in which nutrients cycle through an ecosystem. Energy does not cycle because all that Is derived from the sun eventually dissipates as heat.

Natural and Artificial Ecosystem

Fig 1.2 A diagram illustrating the manner in which nutrients cycle through an ecosystem. Energy does not cycle because all that Is derived from the sun eventually dissipates as heat.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

History and definition of ecology

Definition of Ecology

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 Chambly disaster, ozone hole, global writing and many other problems. Public outcry about such problems clearly emphasizes 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 oily as late as 1868. It has been derived from two Greek F 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.

History of Ecology

The roots of ecology lie in Natural History,’ which is as old as human civilization itself. As a matter of fact man indulged in ecology in a practical sort of way, though unknowingly, since early history. In primitive societies every individual was required to have intimate knowledge of his environment for survival, i.e., of the forces of nature and of plants and animals around him. Primitive tribes, which were dependent on hunting, fishing and food gathering needed detailed knowledge of their environment to obtain their sustenance. Later, the adoption of settled agricultural life further stressed the need to learn practical ecology for the successful domestication of plants and animals.

Our ancient Indian texts arc full of references to ecological principles. The classical texts of the Vedic period (1500 BC-600 BC) such as the Vedas, the Samhita, the Brahmanas and ‘the Aranyakas-Upanishads contain many references to ecological concepts.

The Indian treatise on medicine, the Caraka’Samhita (lst Century AD-4th Century AD) Charakai.c. ‘ and the surgical text Susruta.Samhita (1st Century AD-4th Century AD), show that people during period had a good understanding of plant and animal ecology. These texts contain classification of animals on the basis of habit and habitat, land in terms of nature of soil, climate and vegetation; and description of plants typical to various localities. Caraka Samhita contains information that air, land, water and seasons were indispensable for life and that polluted air and water were injurious for health. 

Similar awareness of ecological issues was prevalent in Europe in the 4th Century BC. The early Greek philosophers were well aware of the importance of environmental studies. Hippocrates in his work ‘On Airs, Waters and Places’ stressed the need for ecological background for medical students, as he emphasized the effect of water, air and locality on health and diseases in man. Aristotle classified animals on the basis of habit and habitat.

Theophrastus (370-250 BC) was the first person to introduce ecological approach long ‘before the Terni ecology was coined, 11e studied plant types and forms in relation to altitude, moisture and light exposure.

 After a gap of several centuries European naturalists made significant contribution to ecological thinking. The French Naturalist Georges Buffon (1707-1788) in his book Natural History (1756) made a serious attempt to systematize the knowledge concerning the relation of animals to environment.

In the early eighteenth century Anton-van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723), the microscopic, pioneered the study of food chain and population regulation which have grown into the major areas of modem ecology.

It was Hanns Reiter who in 1868 appears to hav6 coined the term ‘ecology’ by combining the two Greek words Oikos (home) and Logos (study). However it was the German biologist Ernst Haeckel (1866-1870) who for the first time elaborated the definition of ecology as follows;

“By ecology we mean the body of knowledge concerning the economy of nature — the investigations of the total relations of animal both to its inorganic and to its organic environment including above all, its friendly and inimical relation with ‘ those animals and plants with which it comes directly or indirectly into contact — in a word, ecology is the study of all the complex interrelations referred to by Darwin as the conditions of the struggle for existence.” 

 A few years earlier to Haeckel, the French zoologist Isodore Geoffrey St. Hillarie and the English naturalist St George Jackson Mivart had proposed the terms “ethology” and “hexicology” respectively, which are almost similar to ‘ecology’. A British zoologist Charles Eton (1927) in his pioneering book “Animal Ecology’ defined ecology as scientific natural history.

The concept of community in ecology was applied by Karl ‘Mobius (1877) to animal Whereas Forbes (1887), Waning (1909), Cowles (1899), Clements (1916) and many others made notable contributions to the study of plant and animal communities. The concept of ‘population’ and its several related aspects developed in the early part of the twentieth century. Mathematical techniques were used for understanding community ecology. These mathematical and statistical methods have since been applied for an understanding of population dynamics.

In 1935 a distinguished British botanist, Sir Arthur Tansley introduced the concept of the ecosystem or ecological system. This was a major development in the history of ecology. The concept of ecosystem along with the ideas on the trophic-dynamic aspect of community developed by Lindeman (1942), and biogeocoenoses by Sukachev (1944) stimulated investigations on the organism — environment complex from a holocoenotic standpoint and led to a major breakthrough in the progress of ecology. Recently, an American ecologist Eugene P Odum (1971) has defined ‘ecology as the study of the structure and function of nature’.

In India, ecological studies began as elsewhere with the descriptive phase at the end of the. nineteenth century. Descriptive accounts of the forests. Were prepared by the forest officers (1875-1929). However, the first comprehensive ecological contribution was made in 1921 by Prof P. Dudgeon of Allahabad University who described the role of environment in the succession of communities.

By the l940s there was sufficient ecological information of the descriptive and observational kind. There was now a need for precise determination of the behavior and distribution of plants (individually or in groups) in relation to specific environmental factors. This led to the experimental approach (1940-1965). Extensive gynecological studies were carried out on forest and grassland communities and autecological studies on trees, herbs and grasses under the guidance of Prof. R. Mishra, who established a flourishing school of ecology at the Banaras Hindu University, by the l960s. In the early sixties the need for developing a better understanding of the structure and function of different ecosystems was considered necessary for the effective management of natural resources, especially in view of the growing human population.

With This view, the International Biological Programme (IBP) was launched (1964-1974) with a focus on the biological basis of productivity and human welfare. Under the aegis of this programme, productivity of different terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems was evaluated apart from studies on human adaptability, conservation of ecosystem and the use of biological resources.

Much of the recent interest ecology stems from the problems caused by rapid population growth and widespread deterioration of environment due to pollution of air soil and water. Ecological studies are now increasingly geared to promote conservation and rational utilization of natural resources through international efforts such as Man and biosphere programme of UNESCO (MAB), United Nations Conference oh Human Environment held at Stockholm in 1972, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, (IUCN) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The science of ecology has much to contribute in solving the problem of environment.

Subdivisions of Ecology

 Ecology was earlier Divided into plant and animal ecology. However, modem ecology doesn’t make any such distinction since plants and animals are intimately interconnected and interdependent amongst themselves and on their environment.

The three main subdivisions of ecology today are given below: i) Autecology, ii) Synecology, iii) Habitat ecology.
  1. Autecology: It is the study of individual species or individuals in relation to the environment. There are two approaches to autecological studies (a) autecology of .species where individual species are studied (b) population ecology where individuals of the same species are studied.
  2. Synecology:It is the study of the community of living organisms as a unit. The , difference between autecology and synecology could be explained by the following. example. If a neem tree (or several neem trees)or a crow(or.several crows) are studied in relation to the environment then this would be an autecological study. However, if the Ecobgy and Ecvysten study deals with a forest community as a whole in which many different birds, tree and . animals share the sane area, then it would be called a synecological approach. Synecological studies can be of two types. a) Community ecology is concerned with the study of biotic (living) community comprising of interdependent plants and animals in a particular area, b) ecosystem ecology which is a recent development in ecology. It deals with the community of living organisms and their environment as an integrated unit of nature. 
  3. Habitat ecology : It is the study of the habitat or environment of organisms and its effect on the organisms. In this approach different types of habitats such as terrestrial, fresh water, marine, and estuarine are the focus of study. 

Relationship of Ecology with Other Disciplines of Biology 

In order to understand the scope and relevance of ecology let us consider its position in relation to other biological disciplines, with the help of a diagram in the shape of a cake see This hypothetical biological cake has several horizontal layers representing the ‘basic’ divisions of biology, common to all organisms — morphology, physiology, genetics, ecology, evolution, molecular biology, developmental biology etc. These horizontal layers are divided vertically into unequal ‘taxonomic slices’ of biology as well, Each such slice is labelled by the specific kinds of organism. The thicker slices represent large divisions of ‘biology and are labelled Zoology, Botany, Bacteriology etc. The thinner slices are labelled a Phycology, Ornithology, Protozoology as they deal with specific type of organisms.

Let us consider slice ‘A’, i.e. ornithology — the ‘study of birds. This slice with its horizontal layers of molecular biology, developmental biology, genetics, ecology etc. indicates that there are different approaches to the study of birds. The approach may be molecular or ‘ ecological, or of any other type, or a combination of two or more approaches. The ‘biological cake’ analogy helps us appreciate their ecology is a basic division of biology.

It is often important to restrict work to certain taxonomic species or groups because different kinds of organisms require different methods of study. For example, one cannot study pigeons and bacteria using the same methods. However, the modern ecological principles have provided many unifying concepts such as energy flow, nutrient cycling and population dynamics for comparing diverse ecosystems .