Sustainable Use and Management of Ecosystems




Our mission in IUCN’s Commission on Ecosystem Management is to explore how sustainable use can serve as a tool to manage and, where needed, restore ecosystems; to share that knowledge with ecosystem managers and policy makers.



Objectives are to pursue our mission by:

  • Identifying how sustainable use of renewable natural resources can contribute to management and restoration of ecosystems.
  • Identifying and promoting conservation advantages accruing to biodiversity from more effective ecosystem management.
  • Facilitating research and knowledge sharing that explores how sustainable use of renewable natural resources can foster more resilient ecosystems.





To maintain and restore ecosystems rapidly, in the face of development and climate change, requires direct exchange of knowledge with local communities and managers of land and species. For this purpose, multilingual web-portals have been built (e.g. These portal developments are signposted by a network for local communities. The long-term intention of the systems is to gain local knowledge, which needs to be integrated for central planning, in exchange for decision support that benefits ecosystems together with the biodiversity and livelihoods that depend on them.


As well as outreach to local communities through the internet, SUME seeks opportunities to inform policy on management to conserve ecosystems through sustainable use of their components. To this effect, members of SUME are working with the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and we also encourage attention to the European Charters (see right column here) which make appropriate recommendations for governments as well as practitioners.

Las Naciones Unidas cumplen 75 años. ¡Feliz cumpleaños!
14 Aug 2020

¡Todos están invitados a una encuesta de las Naciones Unidas! El observador de la ONU con experiencia específica en biodiversidad, conservación de la naturaleza y uso sostenible es la Unión Internacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza (UICN).  Por ello, se insta a visitar nuestro sitio Naturalliance. En cada caso, por favor elija su idioma en la parte superior derecha.

SUME chairs at Bird Trade Workshop in Abu Dhabi
27 Aug 2019

A lot of ‘wildlife crime’ occurs because local traditions are rendered illegal by decisions made in English at international conventions without the awareness, let alone with consultation in their own language, of those affected. Such crime can be addressed by giving more scope for local people to act legally and explaining in local languages why that is important. Recommendations to that effect were one outcome of a workshop organised on 27 August in Abu Dhabi by the International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey, the Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species and the Bern Convention. After a talk by SUME chairs and members of ESUG, our network to promote legal use of Saker Falcons was re-launched in 10 languages by an Emirati diplomat, HE Awadh Ali Sali, by pressing the button to publish launches in Karlovac
23 Apr 2019

The network for conserving ecosystems through sustainable use launched with 22 languages when Ambassador Andrew Dalgleish pressed the button at Aquatika in Croatia on 23 April 2019. This was part of a Regional Meeting of SUME, which was held with European Sustainable Use Group in Karlovac, Croatia, during 23-25 April 2019. See the Croatia Meeting page for details.

SUME met in Lima, Peru
27 Oct 2017

SUME's 4th meeting was kindly hosted during 26-27 October 2017 by the 

Instituto de Ciencias de la Naturaleza, Territorio y Energía Renovables at the

Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Download proceedings of the meeting to read the abstracts, linked to Powerpoint presentations and other useful information.

SUME met in Kyrgyzstan
07 Sep 2017

SUME’s third meeting since its creation in 2014 was in the small town of Cholpon Ata, on the shores of Lake Issyk Kul in Central Asia. The meeting was kindly hosted on 7 September 2017 by the International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey (IAF). Download the report.


Coming Activities and Meetings


Read about our 5th meeting, in Croatia


SUME Origins and Membership


The thematic group on Sustainable Use and Management of Ecosystems (SUME) was created by IUCN's Commission on Ecosystem Management in 2014. SUME activities are planned by a Steering Group of Continental Coordinators, supported by a network of Country Coordinators.


Steering Group Members are:

Prof Robert Kenward (Chair)

Dr Adrian Lombard (Deputy-Chair)

Dr Tetiana Gardashuk (Europe)

Dr Tatyana Bragina (C Asia)

Dr Keiya Nakajima (SE Asia)

Dr Brendan Moyle (Oceania)

Dr Scott Brainerd (N America)

Dr Marina Rosales (S America)

Prof Eduardo Arraut (S America)


Members of SUME had their first meeting in Vienna in June 2015. At the time of its second meeting, in September 2016 at the 6th World Conservation Congress of IUCN in Honolulu, SUME had 62 members across 37 countries. In May 2017 there were 380 in 90 countries, and in May 2019 membership was 534. To complete the global remit for our work, enquiries are especially welcome from those who would like to become Country Coordinators from Africa, Oceania, the Americas and SouthEast Asia. 




We cooperate for our internet activities with the European Sustainable Use Group, which supports IUCN’s specialist group for Sustainable Use and Livelihoods too. Development of the portals also depends on the Convention on Conservation of Migratory SpeciesInternational Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of PreyAnatrack Ltd and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust in the UK.