de la Vega-Leinert, A.C.; Stoll-Kleemann, S., and Wegener, E., 2018. Managed realignment (MR) along the Eastern German Baltic Sea: A catalyst for conflict or for a coastal zone management consensus.
Managed Realignment (MR), which involves the removal of coastal defences or their relocation further inland, is a desirable option for demographically and economically marginal rural areas, from scientific, political and managerial perspectives. In Europe, MR is reshaping coastal landscapes, and, though not directly endangering lives, is affecting people's sense of safety and control over their land and livelihoods. This can elicit conflict, but also foster consensus. In this study, participatory qualitative research methods were used to investigate stakeholders' perceptions and preferences with regard to coastal land management strategies on the eastern German Baltic coast in the state of Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. MR reflects a change in the way in which coastal land is valued, with supporting and regulating ecosystem services increasingly seen as critical for the resilience, conservation, amenity value and cost-efficient defence of coastal areas. Coastal defence is being redefined as a coastal land(scape) management task. The two contrasting case studies discussed show that, where public land is concerned, MR projects can be negotiated by, and provide benefits for, all parties concerned. Nevertheless, where local populations feel that they will be negatively affected, they may make use of democratic mechanisms to voice their dissent, organise resistance, and lobby to become negotiating parties in decisions concerning MR projects. If there is to be public consensus over the idea that coastal resilience is a common good, then the individual losses that result from such projects should be explicitly acknowledged and compensated for.