Defining ecologically, geographically, and politically coherent boundaries for the Northern Gulf of Mexico coastal region: Facilitating ecosystem-based management Academic Article uri icon


  • 2017 Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is an integrated approach that recognizes the complex interactions within an ecosystem. Proper facilitation of EBM techniques require explicitly defined spatial boundaries, but biophysical processes, human activities, and the ecosystems that they influence operate at various scales. Careful thought to combine ecological, physical, and regulatory boundaries to define spatial scales of coastal regions can be a tedious yet significant early step towards the meaningful application of ecosystem-based management. We recommend nine coastal regions for the Northern Gulf of Mexico by creating both regulatory and biophysically meaningful spatial boundaries. A basic framework illustrating the utility of publicly available spatial datasets for defining the seaward, landward, and lateral boundaries of coastal regions is provided. These nine coastal regions will be key in creating spatial criteria for the Northern Gulf of Mexico, within which differences in ecosystem services can be measured, and temporal changes in ecosystem services can be tracked. The framework developed here is meant to build capacity for EBM and serve as a starting point for the continued discussion and modification of sensible ecological, geographical and political boundaries.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Oakley, J. W., Lawing, A. M., Guillen, G. J., & Gelwick, F.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Oakley, Jenny W||Lawing, A Michelle||Guillen, George J||Gelwick, Frances

publication date

  • January 2018