Agriculture | Compendium Coast and Sea


Agriculture in the coastal zone is undergoing significant economic, ecological and social changes. For example, there is a shift from traditional farm-based agriculture to large-scale, digital and sustainable agricultural practices, and cultivated land is increasingly being used as a garden or horse pasture. In addition, the sector is in a continuously balancing with other user functions such as urbanisation, other economic development and nature. Nevertheless, agriculture in the coastal zone, as an inseparable part of the agrifood system, continues to have an important economic value. In addition, many ecosystem services linked to agriculture offer significant added value to society. However, agriculture also has a significant impact on the marine environment through nutrient runoff resulting in eutrophication. Marine influences can also put pressure on agriculture, such as through the process of salinisation.

The thematic chapter provides an overview of the current knowledge on policy and spatial use, as well as socio-economic data, ecological impact and measures for a sustainable practice for this activity in the coastal zone. The federal and Flemish regulations applicable to this activity are discussed in more detail under 'Legislation', while the figures and underlying data are made available interactively via the 'Coastal Portal'. More information on the expertise available on coastal agriculture within the Belgian marine research groups and their relevant research infrastructure can be obtained via 'Research groups' and 'Infrastructure'.