Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 2115–2126 | Cite as

Critical reflections on a systems approach application in practice: a Baltic lagoon case study

  • Loraine McFadden
  • Gerald Schernewski
Original Study


This paper contributes to our understanding of the challenges faced when seeking to apply systemic, integration concepts in ‘arenas of practice’. It takes a critical look at the application of the systems-based SPICOSA Project in the region of the Oder (Szczecin) Lagoon, which forms the border between Germany and Poland. The paper highlights a range of place-based and temporal-based factors, which need careful consideration when adopting systems-based approaches to Integrated Coastal Zone Management and makes a series of recommendations for how such approaches might be approved. The experience within the study site was that challenges relating to scale, in one of its many facets, strongly influenced abilities to integrate within the systemic approach. Our view is that cross-scale issues and multi-level challenges can be thought of as one of the dominant factors controlling the successfulness of system approaches to managing complex environments.


Integration Systems Scale Practice ICZM Science Policy 



The work was supported by the European Community’s Sixth Framework Programme through the Integrated Project SPICOSA (Contract Number: 036992) and the German project IKZM-Oder (Federal Ministry for Education and Research, 03F0465A). Ongoing work is funded within the European Union South Baltic Programme project ‘Action for the Reinforcement of the Transitional Waters’ Environmental Integrity’ (ARTWEI) and the project RADOST (Federal Ministry for Education and Research, 01LR0807B).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Flood Hazard Research CentreMiddlesex UniversityLondonUK
  2. 2.Leibniz-Institute for Baltic Sea ResearchRostockGermany
  3. 3.Coastal Research and Planning InstituteKlaipeda UniversityKlaipedaLithuania

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