About the ISE

Taken from www.ise.arts.ubc.ca with permission.

International Society of Ethnobiology
For two decades, the International Society of Ethnobiology (ISE) has actively promoted and supported the inextricable linkages between biological and cultural diversity and the vital role of Indigenous and local peoples in stewardship of biological diversity and cultural heritage, which includes recognition of land and resource rights, as well as rights and responsibilities over tangible and intangible cultural and intellectual properties. The ISE is committed to understanding the complex relationships which exist between human societies and their environments. A core value of the ISE is the recognition of Indigenous peoples as critical players in the conservation of biological, cultural and linguistic diversity.

The ISE is a 501(c)3 scientific and educational association located in Vermont, USA and registered in Georgia, USA. The ISE is governed by a constitution and guided by the work of a voluntary Board of Directors who are elected every two years by the ISE membership at a General Assembly held as part of each International Congress of Ethnobiology.

Vision Statement
The ISE is committed to achieving a greater understanding of the complex relationships, both past and present, that exist within and between human societies and their environments. The Society endeavors to promote a harmonious existence between humankind and the Bios for the benefit of future generations. Ethnobiologists recognize that Indigenous Peoples, traditional societies, and local communities are critical to the conservation of biological, cultural and linguistic diversity. The vision of the ISE is reflected in its Code of Ethics, to which all Members are bound.

For more information about the ISE, please visit
www.ise.arts.ubc.ca, or contact the ISE Coordinator, Natasha Duarte at isecoordinator@gmail.com or +1 802 453-6996.

Brief History of the ISE
Adapted with permission from the
International Society of Ethnobiology (ISE) website

The Congress of the International Society of Ethnobiology is the embodiment of the ISE’s core mandate to facilitate an ‘ethical space’ where different worldviews can interact and share information across geographical and cultural boundaries, creating an interactive forum for cross-cultural exchanges. The Congress is the official meeting of the Society that is held every two years. The Congress has a dual role in the life of the ISE. In addition to providing a time and place to formally gather its diverse membership for ethnobiology exchanges, the Congress is central in conducting the ISE’s business in at least three respects. It is the time for holding:

  • the final meeting of the out-going Board of Directors (occurs on first day of Congress);

  • the General Assembly for all ISE members, where the ISE Board Members report on their term, important society business is discussed and decided, and the new ISE Board Members are elected and begin their two-year term (occurs mid-Congress); and

  • the combined transition meeting of the out-going and in-coming Board (occurs in latter part of Congress)

The biennial international Congresses continue to provide much-needed but increasingly rare opportunities for diverse actors to come together in person to share and learn, work through differences, and build understandings on difficult topics. In addition to the congresses, the ISE is also building complementary web-based tools and fora for ongoing virtual communications and sharing of information and resources in multi-media and multi-lingual forms.

ISE Congresses to come
The 14th Congress of the International Society of Ethnobiology will be held in
Bhutan in 2014 (May 26 to 30). It will be organized by the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment. Download the proposal of 2014 ISE Congress here.
During the ISE General Assembly that was held in Montpellier in 2012, decision was adopted to host the 15th ISE Congress in 2016 in Kampala (Uganda). Download the proposal of 2016 ISE Congress

Where have the previous Congresses been held?
The First International Congress of Ethnobiology was held in Belém, Brazil in 1988. More than 600 delegates participated in the Congress from 35 countries, including representatives from 16 indigenous organizations. A major result of the First Congress was the founding of the International Society of Ethnobiology (ISE). At the close of the first congress, founding members joined together to forge a statement of guiding principles that represent the goals and ideals of ethnobiologists and ethnobiology in an international context. The result of these deliberations was The Declaration of Belém.

12th ICE 2010

Tofino, CanadaChair:

Josie Osborne

11th ICE 2008

Cusco, PeruChair:

Alejandro Argumedo

10th ICE 2006

Chiang Rai, Thailand


Chayan Picheansoonthon

9th ICE 2004

Canterbury, Kent, UKChair:

Roy Ellen

8th ICE 2002

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


Fassil Kebebew

7th ICE 2000

Athens, USAChair:

Elois Ann Berlin

6th ICE 1998

Whakatane, Aotearoa/New Zealand


Aroha Mead

5th ICE 1996

Nairobi, Kenya


Christine Kabuye

4th ICE 1994

Lucknow, IndiaChair:

A. K. Jain

3rd ICE 1992

Mexico City, Mexico


Javier Caballero

2nd ICE 1990

Kunming, China


Pei Shengji

1st ICE 1988

Belem, Brazil


Darrell Posey