Sustainable Use and Management of Ecosystems


Our Mission 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.


Our 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.
Pro-Coast meeting in Bergen, Norway.
19 Jun 2024

Pro-Coast Bergen

Six members of ESUG, including Chair Julie Ewald, were among the participants at a second physical meeting of the Pro-Coast project in Bergen during 11-13 June 2024. Work is now starting in the nine Case Studies. This is under intensive guidance by social scientists, which reminds us how much this project differs from GEMCONBIO (2006-8), in which study of conservation projects showed that success depended mainly on adaptive management and knowledge leadership, and TESS (2008-11) in which the need for detailed local mapping and ease of collection by trained community volunteers was demonstrated. In Pro-Coast we seek to discover what individual motivations favour conservation behaviour, and to use this knowledge to engender massive roll-out of tools for sustainable use of wild resources. 

Significant effect of wording used in public discussions on trophy hunting
17 Jun 2024

The public debate between those opposing and advocating for trophy hunting as a legal sustainable use activity is often shaped by the perception that policymakers have of the electorates views towards this. In 2021, Humane Society International published a survey erroneously extrapolating from a small sample of respondents in Germany and through biased wording that a majority of Europeans opposed trophy hunting. In 2023,  coalition of sustainable use organisations commissioned another study which concluded through robust and representative data that 53% of Europeans accepted the import of trophies from non EU countries while only 22,7% favoured a ban. You may read more on the importance of the wording used to mobilise politicians and civil society in this article:

Pro-Coast Website Launched
20 Mar 2024

Pro-Coast (a PROactive approach for COmmunities to enAble Societal Transformation) is running for three years from November 2023 in the EU Horizon Programme. Pro-Coast brings together 20 partners from 14 countries focusing on 9 case studies representing different types of coastal habitats in Europe. Focusing on change agents and combining global with local knowledge to benefit societies, the project will combine social and environmental science to promote restoration of biodiversity by coastal communities.


Pro-Coast is intended to scale up to wider areas along coasts and inland, using the networking developed by the European Sustainable Use Group together with SUME and IAF. A number of project partners, including ESUG as project lead, are associated with SUME. We will work with them to develop global approaches to conserve nature through sustainable use, hand in hand with experts, scientists and local communities. 

SUME at IAF Conference in Abu Dhabi
27 Sep 2022

SUME and ESUG members attended a 3-day conference in Abu Dhabi on "The Significance of Indigenous People and Local Communities in linking Intangible Cultural Heritage and Wildlife Conservation". This event marked the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between IUCN and the International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey (IAF) on raptor conservation and stakeholder networking. Adrian Lombard, Elizabeth Leix, Alessandra Oliveto, Janusz Sielicki, Julian Mühle, Robert Kenward and Véronique Blontrock were all speakers and joined many young falconers for a training workshop on running our networks. Janusz launched IAF's new conservation network and presentations from the conference are available for access here.

SUME and SULi cooperate for IPBES Plenary 9
09 Jul 2022

Members of SULi and SUME (here Gabriela Lichtenstein & Julian Mühle) worked with Team-IUCN at Plenary 9 of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Bonn during 3-9 July 2022. A main task of Plenary 9 was to approve the IPBES Assessment of Sustainable Use of Biodiversity, which was started in 2017 and exceeds 1100 pages. An advance version of the 30-page Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) is available online already with a press release from IPBES. The STM is now also covered in a two-page review for SULi and SUME members; comments on the two-pager are welcome, to help prepare for adding much material to our Naturalliance network when IPBES publishes the full six-chapter assessment..



Our Approach:

To maintain and restore ecosystems rapidly, in the face of development and climate change, requires exchange of knowledge with local communities and managers of land and species. For this purpose we build multilingual web-portals  (e.g. Our portal developments are signposted by a network for local communities. The long-term intention 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.


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:

Dr Adrian Lombard (Africa, Chair)

Dr Keiya Nakajima (SE Asia, Co-chair)

Prof Eduardo Arraut (S America)

Maya Basdeo (N America)

Dr Scott Brainerd (Europe)

Dr Dan Cecchini (N America)

Dr Tetiana Gardashuk (Europe)

Dr Brendan Moyle (Oceania)

Dr Marina Rosales (S America)

Julian Muhle

Janusz Sielicki

Prof Robert Kenward


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, in May 2019 membership was 534 and by autumn 2021 more than 850. 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. 



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). We also encourage attention to the European Charters (see right column here) which make appropriate recommendations for governments as well as practitioners.


We cooperate for our internet activities with the European Sustainable Use Group, which supports IUCN’s specialist group for Sustainable Use and Livelihoods too. Through IUCN, we also benefit from a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey. Development of the portals also depends on the Convention on Conservation of Migratory SpeciesAnatrack Ltd and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust in the UK.