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.
As the next schematizing step, three major ‘sub-systems’ in the coastal zone are distinguished:
It is the task of ICZM to understand, monitor and manage
the processes between the three subsystems.
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.
Below, the central position of ICZM is visualized in relation to the three subsystems.