Coastal ecosystems are ecosystems that are an inherent part of the bio-geophysical properties of a coastal environment. They consist of a range of different types related to the wider coastal system and natural conditions and play a central role in shaping and forming the wider coastal environment.
Important coastal ecosystems include mangrove forests, salt marshes, tidal flats and coral reefs which are ecosystems and biodiversity hotspots of global significance and with a range of different ecosystem services to human society, spanning from storm protection to provision of nursing grounds for global fish stocks.
The incorporation of coastal ecosystems into coastal planning processes, taking their wider natural and societal functions and vulnerabilities into account is therefore critical for successful coastal management. The Coastal Hazard Wheel can provide a framework for integrating these perspectives as coastal ecosystems form a central part on the coastal classification system and management guidelines, which cover aspects as Ecosystem Based Management and Working With Nature principles and the concept of Integrated Coastal Zone Management.
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