British Ecological Society

Coordinates: 51°31′21.97″N 0°6′54.93″W / 51.5227694°N 0.1152583°W / 51.5227694; -0.1152583
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
British Ecological Society

The British Ecological Society is a learned society in the field of ecology that was founded in 1913.[1] It is the oldest ecological society in the world.[1] The Society's original objective was "to promote and foster the study of Ecology in its widest sense" and this remains the central theme guiding its activities today. The Society had, circa 2024 around 7,000[2] members of which 14% are students. Of its members, [when?] 42% are outside the United Kingdom, in a total of 92 countries. The head office is located in London.[1]


The Society evolved out of the British Vegetation Committee,[3] which was founded in 1904 to promote the survey and study of vegetation in the British Isles. This initiative was in turn the outcome of what many historians perceive to have been the emergence of modern ecology in the 1890s. The British Ecological Society's inaugural meeting was held at University College London on 12 April 1913 and was attended by 47 members.[1] Sir Arthur Tansley became the first President and the first issue of Journal of Ecology was printed in time for the meeting.[1]

The Society faced several setbacks and was largely impacted by the events of World War I, as it formed the year prior to its beginning.[4]

In its early days the society shared the London offices of The Linnean Society.[1]


Publication of scientific journals is a principal activity. The Journal of Ecology was first published in 1913 in time for the inaugural meeting of the Society,[1] followed by the Journal of Animal Ecology (1932),[1] Journal of Applied Ecology (1962),[1] Functional Ecology (1987),[1] and Methods in Ecology and Evolution (2010).[1] In 2018, the society launched People and Nature, an Open Access interdisciplinary journal publishing work exploring relationships between humans and nature, followed by Ecological Solutions and Evidence in 2020. Members can subscribe to these journals at a low cost and also receive a discount on Open Access fees. The Society also partners with Wiley-Blackwell on the open access journal Ecology and Evolution.

The society publishes the Ecological Reviews[5] book series which aims to publish books on the cutting edge of modern ecology, providing a forum for current topics that are likely to be of long-term importance to the progress of the field

In addition, the society publishes a series of freely available short Better Science Guides[6] on topics including Peer Review, Data Management, Interdisciplinary Research, Safe Fieldwork, Reproducible Code and Getting Published.


The Society also runs several major scientific meetings for ecologists each year. The Annual Meeting currently attracts 1,200 delegates each year and provides the opportunity for ecologists to present papers and posters on a wide variety of topics; an important element has always been the active participation of research students. There is an increasing number of delegates from overseas, principally Europe. It is Europe's largest annual meeting of ecologists.[citation needed] Since 1960 the Society has run an Annual Symposium and published a volume of its papers. It supports a range of other specialist meetings, workshops, training events and field meetings.



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Hazel Norman (2013). British Ecological Society. ISBN 978-0-470-05733-9. OL 33356762M. Wikidata Q101660703.
  2. ^ "Who we are". 7 February 2024.
  3. ^ a b F. E. Weiss (1929). "Obituary Notice: Richard Henry Yapp, 1871–1929". Journal of Ecology. 17 (2): 405–408. ISSN 0022-0477. JSTOR 2256052. Wikidata Q101607488.
  4. ^ Salisbury, Edward (1964). "The Origin and Early Years of the British Ecological Society". Journal of Animal Ecology. 33: 13–18. doi:10.2307/2425. ISSN 0021-8790.
  5. ^ "Ecological Reviews". British Ecological Society. Retrieved 2024-02-07.
  6. ^ "Better Science Guides". British Ecological Society. Retrieved 2024-02-07.
  7. ^ T.W.W; A.G.T. (1929). "Obituary Notice: William Gardner Smith: 1866-1928". Journal of Ecology. 17 (1): 170–173.

External links[edit]

51°31′21.97″N 0°6′54.93″W / 51.5227694°N 0.1152583°W / 51.5227694; -0.1152583