In the 1960s and early 1970s the growing recognition of the importance of major ecological problems, in part arising from the International Biological Program, 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.
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. One of the best example is the Wetlands Working Group (WWG). The WWG was 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 between. There have been nine highly successful WWG international conferences around the world, and the 10th will take place in Changshu, China, September 19-24, 2016.
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 to 2,068 (in 2000) of the world’s leading wetland scientists and managers, making it one of the largest wetlands conferences in the world.