In the 1960's and early 1970's the growing recognition of the importance of major ecological problems, in part arising from the International Biological Programme, led ecologists to seek greater international links. Some countries had long established national ecological societies, others had only young fledgling ones, but one way to foster international participation in helping to address important ecological questions was to establish a new international society. The national societies were very supportive of this move, and in 1967 the International Association for Ecology (INTECOL) was established. The first International Congress of Ecology was held in Hague in 1974. This proved a considerable success, and resulted in the series of congresses for which INTECOL is best known today.
Following the founding of the Association, specialist groups were established in various areas of ecology. These mostly operated by arranging independent meetings or through organizing sessions at the International Congresses. The best example is the Wetlands Working Group, which has run eight highly successful international conferences around the world, with the ninth to take place in Orlando, Florida, USA, June 2012.
The INTECOL Wetland Working Group (WWG) formed at the International Congress of Ecology in Jerusalem, 1978, to encourage research, information sharing and scientific exchanges within the general area of wetland sciences. About 40 people attended the first meeting. At the time there were no internationally based wetland ecology societies, journals or specialty meetings comparable to that available for other biomes like forests, oceans or grasslands. The major function of the WWG has been to organize an international meeting every 4 years, and to join the main body of INTECOL at that larger meeting in the years 2 years between.
This important conference series provides invaluable networking opportunities with key decision makers throughout the globe. Over the past three decades, the INTECOL International Wetlands Conference has grown its attendance and in 2012 will host close to 1,500 of the world leading scientists, making it one of the largest wetlands conferences in the world.
1st INTECOL International Wetlands Conference: 1980, New Delhi, India
2nd INTECOL International Wetlands Conference: 1984, Trebon, Czechoslovakia
3rd INTECOL International Wetlands Conference: 1988, Rennes, France
4th INTECOL International Wetlands Conference: 1992, Columbus, Ohio
5th INTECOL International Wetlands Conference: 1996, Perth, Australia
6th INTECOL International Wetlands Conference: 2000, Quebec City, Canada
7th INTECOL International Wetlands Conference: 2004, Utrecht, The Netherlands
8th INTECOL International Wetlands Conference: 2008, Cuiab, Brazil
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