The practice of coastal zone management in Portugal is very recent. Key issues and considerations about natural shoreline dynamics, main policy instruments, and lessons learned from the EU Demonstration Programmes on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Portugal will be outlined in this paper in an attempt to understand how the practice of ICZM and its prospects are. Coastal zone management problems and their associated side effects, as well as national and international evolution patterns will be drawn. Some means of achieving better coastal zone management practices and ways of addressing some of its forefront issues are also identified. Special attention will go to erosion problems. The pressure induced by urban development and economic activities on coastal areas is increasing. Poor sediment availability combined with years of neglected management and over-exploitation of resources have had a negative impact, and there are many areas showing evidence of coastal erosion. There is a need to improve policies and instruments of coastal planning and management. Coastal zone management plans are being developed for the nine sectors of the continental Portuguese coast, providing a full analysis of coastal systems and a delimitation of uses in relation to the carrying capacity of the shoreline.
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Vol. 10 • No. 1