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Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment


CABI has a history of over a century of scientific endeavour. Since its beginnings as an entomological committee in 1910, CABI has developed into a truly international development-led organization, supported by both a first-class publishing division and a solid scientific research base.

We've produced a 100 year book to celebrate our centenary which provides a history of the organization throughout the ages.


CABI starts with a small grant to fight "one of the enemies of mankind", the devastating impact of pests and diseases on man, animals and crops. The story begins with the formation  of the Entomological Research Committee (Tropical Africa). One field entomologist is posted to East Africa and one to West Africa to collect and study insects injurious to humans, crops and animals. Collected specimens are sent to the British Museum, known today as the Natural History Museum, in London for identification.

Bulletin of Entomological Research launched.

 Sir Guy Marshall, founder of CABI, with Mr Nazir Ahmad Aslam, a student from Pakistan

Sir Guy Marshall, founder of CABI, with Mr Nazir Ahmad Aslam, a student from Pakistan who later joined the staff of the Commonwealth Institute of Entomology


Formation of the Imperial Bureau of Entomology, under Sir Guy Marshall (1871-1959). Its chief functions are the identification of insect pests and the issue of a monthly periodical giving summaries of all current entomological literature (the first abstract journal was Review of Applied Entomology in two parts Series A - Agricultural, Series B - Medical and Veterinary). 


Imperial Bureau of Mycology at Kew established for the identification of fungal diseases of plants, animals and humans and the abstracting of the mycological literature.


First issue of the Imperial Bureau of Mycology’s abstract journal, Review of Applied Mycology.


Imperial Agricultural Research Conference (IARC) held in London. The IARC agreed to the formation of a number of new bureaux and that they should each produce an abstract journal on their own subject.


The Imperial Agricultural Bureaux is officially formed as a Commonwealth organization. 


The adminstration of the Bureaux of Entomology and Mycology are transferred to the Imperial Agricultural Bureaux.


Bureaux of Dairy Science and Forestry merge with the Imperial Agricultural Bureaux


500 cultures are transferred from The Lister Institute to the Imperial Mycological Institute (IMI) after a British Commonwealth Scientific Official Conference recommends that the IMI should be responsible for living cultures of fungi other than medical fungi and yeasts.

 The phial of penicillium from Fleming collection held by CABI

A phial of Fleming's strain of Penicillin Notatum held in CABI's culture collection


Imperial Agricultural Bureaux becomes the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux (CAB).


Imperial Institute of Entomology becomes the Commonwealth Institute of Entomology.


Imperial Mycological Institute becomes Commonwealth Mycological Institute.


The genesis of our successful centre in Switzerland when a sub-station opened near Zurich, moving to Delemont in 1958.


A series of successful biological control projects in North America led by CABI scientists based in Switzerland: Cyzenis albicans and Agrypons flaveolatum against the winter moth Operophtera brumata; Agathis pumila and other parasitoids against the larch casebearer, Coleophora laricella; Mesoleius tenthredinis and Olesicampe benefactor against the larch sawfly, Pristiphora erichsonii; and Lathrolestes nigricollis against the birch leaf miner, Fenusa pumila.


"Stations" open in India and Pakistan.


Our East African Station was set up in Uganda. One of its first projects concerned the Antestiopsis spp. complex, the main pests of Arabica coffee - bringing the problem under control within 18 months of release.


Contents from all the abstract journals, now computerized, are unified to produce the CAB database (CAB Abstracts).

David J Greathead  packed all the equipment from the research station in Uganda into a landrover and drove across the border into Kenya when Idi Amin's regime made scientific research there impossible. 


Drive for self-sufficiency (self-funding) put into operation following the 1975 Review Conference.


Training courses on Information in Agriculture started for information scientists and librarians.


The number of abstract journals increases from 19 to 45.


News and Information journals developed. These contain news items from all over the world, short digests and review articles, as well as abstracts from world literature.

CAB Abstracts is accessible on SDC Search Service, California, and on ESA and DIMDI in Europe.


Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux becomes CAB International.


Head Office, database and journal production are centralised to Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK.


CAB Abstracts available on SilverPlatter software as CABCD.


The CABI roundel is introduced and replaces the world logo.


International Institute of Entomology, International Institute of Biocontrol, International Mycological Institute and International Institute of Parasitology merge to form CABI Bioscience.

CABI Publishing comes into existence.


Crop Protection Compendium produced; other Compendia follow.

Internet Resources Nutritiongate and launches.


CAB Direct, CABI's own platform for CAB Abstracts, launches.


CABI digitises the print abstract journals going back to 1910 to produce Global Health and CAB Abstracts Archive.


CABI Bioscience and CABI Publishing are united under one single CABI brand.


Biocontrol agent to control Japanese Knotweed tested in the field.


CABI launches Plantwise, an initiative to imrove food security and the lives of the rural poor by reducing crop losses.


CAB Direct now holds 10 million records!

Plantwise Knowledge Bank, a global resource to help combat plant health problems, launched.


Tourism, CABI's first major textbook with additional teaching resources, launched.

Plantwise, a plant health programme led by CABI, wins the National Engineering Foundation Award for Innovation in Policy.


CABI is selected to host and support the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition initiative.

Plantwise Knowledge Bank wins the Open Data Award for Social Impact.


CABI launches its first agricultural master’s degree in Integrated Crop Management in Switzerland.

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation invites the CABI-led Plantwise programme to join the Swiss Pavilion at the Milan World Expo on ‘Feeding the World’.


New Horticultural Science internet reseource launched. 

First open access book: Global Health Research in an Unequal World published.

The Scientific Secretariat for the International Research Consortium (IRC) on Animal Health run by a partnership of organisations including Defra (UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), CABI, BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council), and IFAH-Europe (International Federation of Animal Health - Europe) will focus on animnal diseases such as foot and mouth disease and brucellosis, and aspects related to animal health and welfare such as antimicrobial resistance.

CABI held its first animal behaviour symposium in the United States – Animals Behaving Badly – on 26 September 2016. This one-day event focused on problem behaviour in cats, dogs and horses, and the science that helps prevention and treatment of that behaviour.


CABI identified Fall Army Worm in Ghana through its Plantwise Plant Clinics and published an ‘evidence note’ report on the invasive Fall Armyworm pest devastating Maize in Africa.

In July 2017 CABI and SciDev.Net merged, creating a stronger and more diverse combined organisation to help boost their shared mission to improve lives around the world. SciDev.Net is the world’s leading source of reliable and authoritative news, views and analysis about science and technology for global development.

CABI reported that removing the flowers of an invasive shrub from mosquito-prone areas might be a simple way to help reduce malaria transmission, in a study published in the open access Malaria Journal.

CABI won a gold medal for its first ever solo exhibit at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show – an educational display entitled Nature vs Invader that looked at natural solutions to invasive plant problems, and displayed some of the UK’s most invasive alien weeds including Japanese knotweed

Plantwise, a global programme led by CABI won 2017 St Andrews Prize for the Environment, worth $100,000 USD.

CABI led a consortium, funded by the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP), which developed a Pest Risk Information Service (PRISE), which used state-of-the-art technology to help inform farmers in sub-Saharan Africa of pest outbreaks that could devastate their crops and livelihoods.