Marine spatial planning: managing a dynamic environment

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    From both the sedimentological and the geomorphological perspective, the underlying premise that marine spatial planning should closely complement and integrate with terrestrial spatial planning, river basin and coastal zone management planning systems might superficially appear sensible, but it is inherently problematic. The degree of dynamism and dynamic variability in the terrestrial environment, that is, at the earth surface-atmosphere interface, is in no way comparable in magnitude or frequency with that experienced at the water-sediment interface of the often highly mobile sea bed or within the overlying water column itself. Moreover, the hydrodynamic marine processes involved, such as bedload and suspended sediment transport, are fundamentally different from subaerial processes, thereby leading to challenges in integrating onshore and offshore planning systems. This essential process-based distinction leads to the suggestion, which is explored in this article, that marine spatial planning should be underpinned by some form of process-defined planning unit that is determined in scale by the nature of the intended development. In this regard, it is proposed that the flexible Process-Defined Management Unit approach, which has been introduced recently as an aid to sustainable coastal decision-making and to improve upon previous coastal zone management unit approaches, provides a basis that responds to difficulties already being recognized within marine spatial planning.</p>
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)67-79
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Environmental Policy & Planning
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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