Sustainable management is a resource management technique that seeks to make any harvesting or consumption of natural resources as sustainable as possible. Thus, the main goal is to replenish any resources as fast as they are depleted. While this goal may not be practical, sustainable management can often help prolong the natural resource for as long as possible, such as with fossil fuels. It may be easier to sustain resources that are considered renewable, such as forests and fisheries.
In order to accomplish its goal, sustainable management often looks at two different factors: the rate of consumption and the rate of replenishment. In many cases, the goal is to keep these two factors in equilibrium. In cases where there is a surplus of a resource, consumption outpacing replenishment may be possible. In most cases, this is a very real problem if a surplus does not exist.
Though consumption often cannot be cut very easily, there are regulations that can promote replenishment. For example, many sustainable management policies require that forest trees be replanted if they are cut down. While this may not be the most ideal situation for the natural environment, it does help lead to a sustainable practice, especially if more than one tree is planted for each tree that is cut down.
In other cases, replenishment is less of an option, and the only sustainable management practice that can be implemented is a consumption or harvest limit. This is often done with fisheries, for example. In this case, as a government tries to sustain or build back up a fish population, catch limits are often imposed. Though not an exact science, catch limits are often very successful at helping to rebuild a species. Still, there is no way to know for sure exactly how many fish may be harvested.
In some cases, there may be a situation where both replenishment and harvesting can be controlled through sustainable management policies. One prime example of this is with freshwater fish species. Many states not only limit the catches of popular sportfish, but also have a program of restocking certain bodies of water.
No matter what strategy is chosen, the practice of sustainable management is funded through a variety of methods. Companies may directly pay for some of it, especially if they are harvesting certain resources, such as trees. User fees also play a role, such as those charged for fishing and hunting licenses. General tax revenue may also account for part of a government's budget for sustainability.