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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Coastal ecology, Marine Life Protection Act Initiative, Marine ecosystem management


Coastal zone ecosystems sit between larger terrestrial and marine environments and, therefore, are strongly affected by processes occurring in both systems. Marine coastal zone systems provide a range of benefits to humans, and yet many have been significantly degraded as a result of direct and indirect human impacts. Management efforts have been hampered by disconnects both between management and scientific research and across linked marine–terrestrial systems. Management jurisdictions often start or end at the shoreline, and multiple agencies at different levels of government often have overlapping or conflicting management goals or priorities, or suffer from a lack of knowledge or interest. Scientists also often fail to consider connections among linked marine–terrestrial systems, and communication among agencies, among scientists in different disciplines, and between scientists and managers is often inadequate. However, despite the institutional and scientific challenges inherent in improving coastal zone management, there are examples of increased coordination and cooperation among different organizations. We discuss a number of examples— including where the marine–terrestrial and science–management disconnects persist and where better integration has led to successes in coastal zone management—and provide recommendations to scientists and managers on how to better link their efforts in science and management across marine and terrestrial systems.


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