The International Society for

Ecological Economics

P.O. Box 1589
Solomons, MD 20688
TEL: (410) 326-0794 - FAX: (410) 326-7354


The International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) is concerned with extending and integrating the study of management of "Nature's household" (ecology) and "humanity's household" (economics). This integration is necessary because conceptual and professional isolation have led to economic and environmental policies that are mutually destructive rather than reinforcing in the long term.



What Is Ecological Economics?

An increasing awareness that our global ecological life-support system is endangered is forcing us to realize that decisions made on the basis of local, narrow, short-term criteria can produce disastrous results globally and in the long run. There is also a growing acknowledgement that traditional economic and ecological models and concepts fall short in their ability to deal with global ecological problems.

Ecological Economics is a transdisciplinary field of study that addresses the relationship between ecosystems and economic systems in the broadest sense.

Ecological Economics goes beyond the normal conceptions of scientific disciplines and attempts to integrate and synthesize many different disciplinary perspectives in order to achieve an ecologically and economically sustainable world.

Innovative research aimed at articulating the mechanisms by which human populations can strike a dynamic balance between economic development and the ecological constraints they face constitutes the foundation on which the future will be built. Critically important research is needed to facilitate the transition to sustainable global production systems. To be effective, this research must be integrated into environmental and economic policy at the local, regional, and international level. Primary topics of ecological economics research include:

  • Sustainability: What do we mean by - and how do we quantify - health and sustainability in ecological and economic systems? How do we maintain a sustainable life-support system? What are the relationships between ecological, economic, and cultural sustainability?
  • Natural Resource Valuation: What are the most sensible ways of assigning value to natural resources and natural capital? What is the role and value of biodiversity?
  • System Accounting: Conventional measures of economic performance do not factor resource depletion or environmental degradation into economic trends, thus presenting an incomplete and skewed picture of economic welfare. How can we create better accounting systems that integrate resource depletion and ecological impacts into national and international economic performance?
  • Ecological and Economic Modeling: Preserving and protecting threatened ecosystems requires an understanding of the direct and indirect effects of human activities on large geographical areas over time. How can we create an integrated, multiscale, pluralistic approach to quantitative ecological economic modeling while developing new ways to effectively deal with the inherent uncertainty involved in modeling complex systems?
  • Institutions for Sustainable Governance: What regulatory and/or incentive-based instruments are most appropriate for assuring sustainability? How can governmental and other institutions be modified to better account for and respond to the environmental impacts of economic development?
  • Education: How can we encourage transdisciplinary education at all levels in order to pursue the above questions?

ISEE is a not-for-profit organization established in 1988 and now has more than 1700 members in over 60 countries. ISEE actively encourages the integration of the study of "nature's household" (ecology) and "humanity's household" (economics) by:

  • providing information through its membership journal, Ecological Economics, published monthly
  • by Elsevier Science Publishers, and the Ecological Economics Bulletin. encouraging the exchange of ideas in this new field through major international conferences held
  • biennially, as well as smaller national and regional meetings on topics of interest to members. Supporting research and training programs in ecological economics.



"The Ecological Economics of Sustainability: Making Local & Short-Term Goals consistent with

Global & Long-Term Goals" held in Washington, D.C. from May 21 - 23. 1990. "Investing in Natural Capital: A Prerequisite to Sustainability" held in Stockholm, Sweden from August 3 - 6, 1992.

"The Role of Information Sciences in Regional Development" sponsored by the Russian Chapter of ISEE, held in Moscow in July, 1993.

"Down to Earth: Practical Applications of Ecological Economics" held in San Jose, Costa Rica, October 24 - 28, 1994.

"Redefining Resource Management and Environmental Policy Through Ecological Economics" the inaugural meeting of ISEE's Australian/New Zealand chapter, held of Coff's Harbor, NSW, November 19 - 23, 1995.

"Ecology, Society, Economy. In Pursuit of Sustainable Development" inaugural meeting of ISEE's European chapter, held in Paris, France May 23 - 25, 1996. "Designing Sustainability. Building Partnerships Among Society, Business, and the Environment" held at Boston University, Boston, MA, USA, August 4 - 7, 1996.



Ecological Economics, The Journal of the International Society for Ecological Economics, published by Elsevier Science Publishers. * The Ecological Economics Bulletin, published quarterly.

The ISEE Membership Directory, published annually.



Ecological Economics: The Science and Management of Sustainability, edited by Robert

Costanza, published by Columbia University Press in 1991. Ecosystem Health: New Goals for Environmental Management, edited by Robert Costanza,

Bryan Norton and Benjamin Haskell, published by Island Press in 1992. Investing in Natural Capital: The Ecological Economics Approach to Sustainability, edited by

AnnMari Jansson, Carl Folke, Monica Hammer, and Robert Costanza, published by Island Press in 1994.

Toward Sustainable Development. Concepts, Methods, and Policy, edited by Jeroen C.J.M. van

den Bergh and Jan van der Straaten, published by Island Press in 1994. Natural Capital and Human Economic Survival, by Thomas Prugh, published by ISEE Press in 1995.

Introduction to Ecological Economics, by Robert Costanza, John Cumberland, Herman Daly, Robert Goodland, and Richard Norgaard, forthcoming.



An Introduction to Ecological Economics with Herman Daly, John Cobb and Gaylord Nelson.

Investing in Natural Capital with Herman Daly, Robert Costanza, Charles Perrings, Karl-Goran Maler, William Rees, Paul Ekins, Cutler Cleveland, Honathan Harris, AnnMari Jansson, and Paul Ehrlich.

Copyright © 1996. The Light Party.

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