Coastal zones with their natural and societal sub-systems are exposed to rapid changes and pressures on resources. Scarcity of space and impacts of climate change are prominent drivers of land use and adaptation management today. Necessary modifications to present land use management strategies and schemes influence both the structures of coastal communities and the ecosystems involved. Approaches to identify the impacts and account for (i) the linkages between social preferences and needs and (ii) ecosystem services in coastal zones have been largely absent. The presented method focuses on improving the inclusion of ecosystem services in planning processes and clarifies the linkages with social impacts. In this study, fourteen stakeholders in decision-making on land use planning in the region of Krummhorn (northwestern Germany, southern North Sea coastal region) conducted a regional participative and informal process for local planning capable to adapt to climate driven changes. It is argued that scientific and practical implications of this integrated assessment focus on multi-functional options and contribute to more sustainable practices in future land use planning. The method operationalizes the ecosystem service approach and social impact analysis and demonstrates that social demands and provision of ecosystem services are inherently connected.
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