The ecosystem approach to management in the Baltic Sea Region: Analyzing regional environmental governance from a spatial perspective
The ecosystem approach to management (EAM) is a policy principle and management tool of increasing importance in European environmental governance. In the Baltic Sea region (BSR), this approach has developed in line with a progressive environmental management agenda, reaching from hot spot solutions to new holistic agendas. This paper examines the spatial dimensions of the EAM in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). The analysis is based on an analytical framework which combines regional environmental governance with debates on socio-spatial relations. It is found that the development, implementation, and spread of EAM corresponds with changing socio-spatial relations. Reterritorialisation of both institutional arrangements and policies is needed to solve cross-boundary problems. Place-making such as hot spots and pilot projects (e.g., in maritime spatial planning) are first steps towards the upscaling of local experiments and re-scaling of policies is also needed for the implementation of EAM in a macroregional multi-level setting, stretching from the EU to the local level. Analyzing regional environmental governance from a spatial perspective reveals institutional ambiguities and even institutional voids because the successful implementation of EAM requires new institutional arrangements.