Wise Use Concept of the Ramsar Convention

  • Dave Pritchard
Reference work entry


The term “wise use”, as it relates to wetlands, originates in the text of the Ramsar Convention adopted in 1971. Initially the term was not defined; but early discussions made clear that it expressed an aim to combine conservation and sustainable use of resources, making Ramsar the first Convention to embrace what later became the widely accepted concept of “sustainable development”. A first formal definition of “wise use” was adopted in 1987 by the Convention’s Parties, who then modified it in 2005. This later definition emphasises “maintenance of wetland ecological character” as the central tenet of the concept. A quantity of guidance material has been published to support the implementation of wise use for all wetlands.


Ramsar convention Wise use Sustainable development Ecosystem approaches Definitions 


  1. Davis TJ (ed.). Towards the wise use of wetlands. Ramsar Convention Bureau, Gland, Switzerland. 1993. 180 pp.Google Scholar
  2. Finlayson CM, Davidson N, Pritchard D, Milton GR, MacKay H. The Ramsar Convention and ecosystem-based approaches to the wise use and sustainable development of wetlands. J Int Wildl Law Policy. 2011;14:176–98.Google Scholar
  3. Ramsar Convention. Recommendation 4.10: guidelines for the implementation of the wise use concept. 1990.Google Scholar
  4. Ramsar Convention. Resolution 5.6: the wise use of wetlands. 1993.Google Scholar
  5. Ramsar Convention Secretariat. Wise use of wetlands: Concepts and approaches for the wise use of wetlands. Ramsar handbooks for the wise use of wetlands, 4th edition, vol. 1. Ramsar Convention Secretariat, Gland, Switzerland. 2010Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.HexhamUK

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