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ICZM / The Coastal Systems
The subject of ICZM is the coastal zone. The coastal zone
is a complicated area where many physical (like people,
trees, water) and non physical items (organizations, laws)
exist and interact with each other. A good ICZM program
must be founded by a thorough comprehension of these items
and their relationships.
The coastal zone is a good example of an area where
interacting, complicated problems should be addressed
by means of systems analysis. Systems analysis
is a broad strategy to make an orderly and logical organization
of data into models. We will not present a complete
analysis of the coastal system, but the first steps
for such a study helps defining the subject: what are
its boundaries and what does it consist of?
As shown in adjacent figure, we can represent the world
as the box. The shaded circle represents the part we
are interested in: the coastal zone. At the highest
level of abstraction, the coastal zone is controlled
by two dynamic sources of activity: the nature - everything
else but human activities - provides the natural boundary
conditions, and the humans which provide "socio-economic
development plans": the more or less authoritative and
organized form in which the active human driving factor
comes to work.
A diagram of "our world"
The coastal system as a part of the world. The world consists
of the systems "Nature" and "Humans". Each of these two
provide the boundary conditions for the development of
the Coastal Zone.
|As the next schematizing step,
three major 'sub-systems' in the coastal zone are distinguished:
It is the task of ICZM to understand, monitor
- The natural system, which encompasses all
relevant non-human domains (atmosphere, lithosphere,
hydrosphere) including their own dynamics and mutual
interactions through abiotic, biotic, and chemical
processes (abc-processes). This is the domain of the
natural resources, which could very well exist without
the presence of man.
- The user functions represent the entire
set of human interests in terms of the 'use' in the
broadest sense which is or may be made of the natural
- The infrastructure consists of the technical
and organizational infrastructure. These infrastructures
are needed to make available and thus materialize
the intended user functions. In many cases the infrastructures
have an intended as well as an unintentional effect
on the natural system, and sometimes also - directly
or indirectly - on other user functions, resulting
in stresses and conflicts.
the processes between the three subsystems.
|Now, zoomed-in on the Coastal
Zone, three subsystems can be defined: User functions,
Infrastructure (part of the Human system) and the natural
subsystem (part of the Nature system).
Below, the central position of ICZM is visualized in
relation to the three subsystems.
|The next two sections elaborate
on the User Functions and Infrastructure. Treatment of
the natural system is out of the scope of the current
module and can be found in standard textbooks.