Coastal zones are the meeting point for land and ocean. Besides these land-ocean interactions, the coastal zone can also be distinguished by the many and strong interactions between the biotic and abiotic systems and the regional economy. Around the world coastal systems are coping with ncreased human pressures in the form of an increased demand for space and other resources as a result of for example population growth, migration and an expansion of tourism. In addition, coastal areas have to deal with natural pressures resulting from large scale interactions of the atmospheric, water, soil and biological systems including climatic change.
Derivations from the natural material and energy flows in the coastal zone are often a result of changes in land-use and other man-induced impacts within the watershed, the coastal zone or in the ocean. A considerable part of the changes do not originate in the coastal zone itself but are caused by land based activities upstream in the catchment area (see for example the case studies below of the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea). In general, there is a lack of understanding of the interdependence of natural and human systems and processes, especially for river basins and coasts. Furthermore, there is only limited knowledge of how activities in the catchment area influence the coastal zone. Consequently, in order to aid policy formulation and decision-making, the interactions between natural and human systems in respectively the catchment area and the coastal zone as well as the connection between them, need to be identified, studied, and at least partly understood.
In attempting a linked analysis of natural and human processes, special attention should be paid to the different temporal and spatial scales on which they operate. One of the most important issues that needs further studying is the temporal and spatial disparity between processes and activities in the catchment area and effects in the coastal zone. This includes the time lags and spatial disparity between activities and their effects as well as the time ags between effects of activities and the time decision makers need to take action to identify, study and eventually reduce these impacts. Each of these issues will now be elaborated upon.
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 2004. , 19 p.