INCOMME is a consortium of organizations dedicated to preserving the extraordinary biological diversity of the world’s Mediterranean-climate regions. Its member organizations include the International Society for Mediterranean Ecology (ISOMED) and the Mediterranean-type Ecosystem Thematic Group (MTEG).
Members of INCOMME and others interested in Mediterranean-region ecology gather each year at the International Mediterranean Ecosystems Conference (MEDECOS).
The sun dominates the skies of all Mediterranean-climate regions during the warm, dry summer months. The INCOMME logo sun symbolizes this universal climate pattern. The sun’s five rays represent the world’s five Mediterranean-climate regions: Southwest and South Australia; central Chile; California and northern Baja California; Mediterranean Basin; and South Africa’s Western Cape.
The impetus behind INCOMME was a desire to improve land management practices in Mediterranean-climate regions. Mediterranean-type ecosystems face a common suite of threats. These include extensive habitat loss to human development; the spread of invasive species; increased frequency of fire; and the sweeping environmental changes promised by global climate change.
The land managers of the University of California Natural Reserve System (NRS) grapple with those threats every day. A network of 38 protected natural areas comprising more than 750,000 acres throughout California, NRS reserves are used by thousands scientists and students every year. University faculty and other scientists from around the world have conducted field studies on reserve lands, providing a long-term understanding of major state ecosystems. And reserve personnel employ a wide variety of approaches to keep reserve habitats healthy.
The Director of the Natural Reserve System, Peggy Fiedler, realized NRS managers and researchers could benefit from an exchange of knowledge and practices with their counterparts in other Mediterranean-climate regions. Such an exchange would improve methods to combat invasive weeds, restore native plants, and retain native species.
Together with Philip Rundel, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary biology at UC Los Angeles, Director Fiedler obtained a grant from the National Science Foundation to establish an international cooperative focused on managing Mediterranean-climate lands.
The grant funded two workshops with attendees from all five Mediterranean-climate regions. The first workshop was held March 2011 at the NRS’s Bodega Marine Reserve, in Bodega Bay, California.
Delegates formed an organization to:
- Promote cross-disciplinary scientific research that informs and supports environmental management to protect California’s exceptional biodiversity and unique ecosystems;
- Enhance educational opportunities for future conservation professionals; and
- Provide environmental outreach programs relevant to the general public of Mediterranean-climate regions.
The second workshop was held January 2012 in Oakland, California. Delegates ultimately agreed to join forces with two other groups focused on Mediterranean-climate ecosystems: the Mediterranean-type Ecosystem Thematic Group (MTEG), and the International Society for Mediterranean Ecology (ISOMED).
The resulting umbrella organization, the International Cooperative for the Management of Mediterranean-Climate Ecosystems (INCOMME), employs conservation science to inform resource management of Mediterranean-climate regions.