The tropical regions - harbouring most of the developing countries - encompass varied environments, and support high biological diversity but often fragile ecosystems. The need of a society exclusively devoted to tropical ecology was widely felt during late 1950s. The idea was discussed among leading ecologists (IV World Forestry, 1954; UNESCO symposium at Kandy, 1956; Bogor, 1958; and Pacific Science Congress, 1958). The International Society for Tropical Ecology (ISTE) was formally inaugurated in 1960 at the 47th Session of the Indian Science Congress Association at Bombay, with the aim of promoting and fostering Ecology in its widest sense in tropics and subtropics. Initially located at 10, Chatham Lines, Allahabad, the ISTE headquarters was shifted to the Department of Botany, Banaras Hindu University in 1962.
Major activities of the society include:
- publishing the Journal Tropical Ecology, Proceedings and such other publications as found desirable,
- organizing meetings, excursions, symposia and seminars at national and international level,
- organizing training courses in ecology,
- securing and managing funds and endowments for the promotion of ecology, and
- collecting and maintaining a library of ecological literature
An international Executive Committee elected every four year is responsible for the administration of the Society.
The Society has been registered in India (Registration No. 372) by the Registrar of Societies, Uttar Pradesh, Varanasi, India.
The Society has a constitution which was amended in February 1989.