It is expected that the Baltic region becomes a major centre of economic growth and prosperity in Europe already during this decade (Anon. 2000). Therefore, an Agenda 21 for the Baltic region (Baltic 21) was developed to ensure a sustainable development. Especially the coastal ecosystems are subject to increasing anthropogenic pressure e.g. eutrophication, traffic, harbours, tourism or offshore wind parks. Eutrophication remains the main ecological problem in the Baltic Sea and has serious negative social and economical consequences. Inner and outer coastal waters play an important role as buffers and filters for the Baltic proper. Consequently, the utilization and preservation of their self-purification capacity is of great importance.
Combined results of our own coastal research and of the international workshop ‘Baltic coastal ecosystems: structure, function and coastal zone management’ (Rostock University, November 2001) are presented here. Conclusions for an improved integrated coastal zone management of Baltic coastal ecosystems will be presented.