Environmental resource management is the management of the interaction and impact of human societies on the environment. It is not, as the phrase might suggest, the management of the environment itself. Environmental resources management aims to ensure that ecosystem services are protected and maintained for future human generations, and also maintain ecosystem integrity through considering ethical, economic, and scientific (ecological) variables. Environmental resource management tries to identify factors affected by conflicts that rise between meeting needs and protecting resources. It is thus linked to environmental protection, sustainability and integrated landscape management.
Environmental resource management is an issue of increasing concern, as reflected in its prevalence in seminal texts influencing global sociopolitical frameworks such as the Brundtland Commission's Our Common Future, which highlighted the integrated nature of environment and international development and the Worldwatch Institute's annual State of the World reports.
Environmental resource management can be viewed from a variety of perspectives. It involves the management of all components of the biophysical environment, both living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic), and the relationships among all living species and their habitats. The environment also involves the relationships of the human environment, such as the social, cultural and economic environment, with the biophysical environment. The essential aspects of environmental resource management are ethical, economical, social, and technological. These underlie principles and help make decisions.
The concept of environmental determinism, probabilism and possibilism are significant in the concept of environmental resource management.
Environmental resource management covers many areas in science, including geography, biology, social sciences, political sciences, public policy, ecology, physics, chemistry, sociology, psychology, and physiology.
Environmental resource management strategies are intrinsically driven by conceptions of human-nature relationships. Ethical aspects involve the cultural and social issues relating to the environment, and dealing with changes to it. "All human activities take place in the context of certain types of relationships between society and the bio-physical world (the rest of nature)," and so, there is a great significance in understanding the ethical values of different groups around the world. Broadly speaking, two schools of thought exist in environmental ethics: Anthropocentrism and Ecocentrism, each influencing a broad spectrum of environmental resource management styles along a continuum. These styles perceive "...different evidence, imperatives, and problems, and prescribe different solutions, strategies, technologies, roles for economic sectors, culture, governments, and ethics, etc."