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This book introduces a 'systems approach' to understanding and managing complex interactions between the natural ecosystems and the human economies and societies in the coastal zone. It draws examples from a successful European research project to show how 'communicative rationality', and the construction of models of 'socio-ecosystems', can be used to help stakeholders, environmental managers, and policy-makers choose between alternative solutions to coastal zone problems. It brings together key ideas about environmental management from the natural, social, and economic sciences, and will interest all those looking for solutions to environmental problems that take account of human needs and wishes, and use existing human institutions.