Ecology is the study environments. The science has become one of the most important, community-relevant studies in the world today. The formal study of ecology involves close examination of all elements involved in a particular environment, often at a microscopic level. Ecology can include dealing with important environmental issues which affect millions of people and huge cities, or attempting to understand the needs of endangered species in the remnants of their habitats.
Ecology is a holistic science, and typically includes areas of expertise in sciences like botany, zoology, entomology and similar life sciences. Qualifications are obtained through the classic academic stream of selective studies in high school, followed by appropriate tertiary studies, progressing through undergraduate to postgraduate and post doctorate levels.
It should be noted that because of the extremely wide range of ecology as a science, areas of qualification and study can be equally variable, and a bit of forethought and career planning is very strongly advised. When researching areas of study and qualification in this field, it's a good idea to thoroughly research qualifications required for a particular area of interest.
Like all life sciences, ecology involves a huge range of possible diversification in terms of specialization and areas of expertise. Generally speaking ecologists tend to concentrate on particular fields of study, frequently expanding their range of qualifications and studies into 'customized' skill sets, which effectively direct their career progression.
Ecologists also often have unique roles in society, frequently acting as advocates for policies addressing issues of major community significance. Many ecologists make major personal contributions to community environments from local to global levels. This is a science for real experts, many of them quite literally devote their lives to their work. If you're an environmentalist, ecology is likely to be a particularly rewarding career.