Forty years of coastal zone management (1975–2014): Evolving theory, policy and practice as reflected in scientific research publications

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Since its implementation as public law in the United States in 1972, the theoretical foundation of coastal management has moved forward in diverse directions. Given the time elapsed since the passage of this influential legislation and the growing number of disciplines and scientific papers published on the topic, this work employed bibliometric and social network analysis methods to quantitatively and qualitatively assess coastal management literature published during the period from 1975-2014. The results indicate that coastal management research has increased significantly over time. The emergence of the topic in scholarly work coincides with passage of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (US Public Law 92–583), and increases in productivity can often be tied to the passage of important legislation or the publication of major policy documents for action on coastal issues. Social network analyses (SNA) indicate loosely connected networks of researchers and institutions, with highly collaborative subgroups that have a significant impact on the field. SNA results also highlight the importance of federal governments and international organizations in driving research and encouraging integrated management. The results indicate that the discipline is evolving to focus more on cross-boundary management strategies, systems perspectives, and consideration of both marine and terrestrial environments.

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Ocean and Coastal Management

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