The International Society of Ethnobiology (ISE) works to understand and strengthen relationships between human societies and the natural world, and to promote biological, cultural, and linguistic diversity. In particular, we support the vital role of indigenous, local, and traditional peoples in protecting their ecosystems and knowledge base, and we provide platforms for discussion among these groups and other people involved in the stewardship of resources.
Central to our mission is creating a space for dialogue, cooperation, and action across diverse languages, cultures, and worldviews. The ISE strives to channel this work into sound research methods, policies, resource use, and decision-making.
Global changes are currently transforming our ecosystems and disrupting human relations with the natural world. For instance, indigenous societies around the world already face the loss of traditional activities (hunting, fishing, and harvesting) and agricultural practices due to altered weather patterns, loss of lands, disruptions to customary ways of transmitting cultural knowledge, changing markets, and a host of other factors.
Yet those ecosystems—the intricate relationships among species, land, water, and air—as well as the traditional, place-based knowledge of ecosystems shared across many generations, may hold some of the answers necessary to address and mitigate global threats.
Because healthy ecosystems and biocultural knowledge hold intrinsic value in and of themselves, the ISE works to maintain the dynamic ties between traditional, local, and indigenous peoples and their lands, knowledge and resources. The ISE seeks to take an active role and support initiatives in conserving both biological and cultural diversity.
Further, the ISE believes that sustainable, appropriate solutions to global problems can only arise through collaboration among people of diverse cultures and worldviews. The Society therefore works to engage people and community groups who have wide ranging expertise and experience in effective dialogue and action.