Bionomics 1990S

Modern scientific process includes various kinds of researches (in ecology, medicine, biotechnology, biology, economics), which are referred to as bionomics.

As an economic theory, bionomics is the application of models and modeling methods from biology to the field of economics.

One of the most active developers of this discipline, Michael Rothschild, gives his own understanding of bionomics comparing it with economics. Rothschild says, “Where mainstream economics is based on concepts borrowed from classical Newtonian physics, bionomics is derived from the teachings of modern evolutionary biology. Where orthodox thinking describes the economy as a static, predictable engine, bionomics sees the economy as a self-organizing, ‘chaotic’ information ecosystem. Where the traditional view sees organizations as production machines, bionomics sees organizations as intelligent social organisms. Where conventional business strategy focuses on physical capital, bionomics holds that organizational learning is the ultimate source of all profit and growth”.

Another school of the same discipline, represented by Igor Flor, the founder of the International Bionomics Institute, calls it bionomics and gives the following definition, “Bionomics may be characterized as a branch of biology which studies new forms of life. We call them economic forms of life or economic organisms. At the same time, bionomics is a specific economic theory which studies economic nature on the base of likeness between economic and biological worlds”.

Some researchers study the same discipline but call it another name – bioeconomics.

Bionomics (Greek: bio = life; nomos = law) has two different meanings:

  • the first is the comprehensive study of an organism and its relation to its environment. As translated from the French word Bionomie, its first use in English was in the period of 1885-1890. Another way of expressing this word is the term currently referred to as “ecology”.
  • the other is an economic discipline which studies economy as a self organized evolving ecosystem.

An example of studies of the first type is in Richard B. Selander’s Bionomics, Systematics and Phylogeny of Lytta, a Genus of Blister Beetles (Coleoptera, Meloidae), Illinois Biological Monographs: number 28, 1960.

According to some scholars, who still adhere to bionomics, it transforms many principles of traditional ecology, recognizing that Life on Earth is hierarchically organized in complex systems, acting as living entities well farther populations and communities.

When related to the territory Ignegnoli talks about Landscape Bionomics, defining Landscape as the “level of biological organization integrating complex systems of plants, animals and humans in a living Entity recognizable in a territory as characterized by suitable emerging properties in a determined spatial configuration”. (Ingegnoli, 2011, 2015; Ingegnoli, Bocchi, Giglio, 2017)

Bionomics as an economic discipline is used by Igor Flor of “Bionomica, the International Bionomics Institute”


  • Benthos – Bionomics
  • Ingegnoli V, Bocchi S, Giglio E (2017) Landscape Bionomics: a Systemic Approach to Understand and Govern Territorial Development. WSEAS Transactions on Environment and Development, Vol.13, pp. 189-195
  • Ingegnoli V (2015) Landscape Bionomics. Biological-Integrated Landscape Ecology. Springer, Heidelberg, Milan, New York. Pp. XXIV + 431
  • Ingegnoli, V. (2011). Bionomia del paesaggio. L’ecologia del paesaggio biologico-integrata per la formazione di un “medico” dei sistemi ecologici. Springer-Verlag, Milano, pp. XX+340.

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