Dynamic dune management, integrating objectives of nature development and coastal safety: examples from the Netherlands, doi: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2012.10.034

S.M. Arens, J.P.M. P.M. Mulder, Q.L. Slings, L.H.W.T. Geelen, P. Damsma

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48 Citations (Scopus)


This paper discusses and compares results of management interventions to remobilise dunes and obtain more autonomous changes in foredunes resulting from a change in coastal defence policy. In recent decades, nature conservation managers tried to restore aeolian dynamics and dune mobility landward of foredunes to maintain threatened, rare pioneer species. Results indicate that destabilisation activities yielded an important increase of blowing sand and its effects on ecology but with a limited effect on the desired integral remobilization of dunes. Roots remaining in the sand after removal of vegetation and soil is one of the main problems. Follow up removal of roots for 3 to 5 years seems to be essential, but it is not clear whether the dunes will remain mobile in the long term. In 1990 the Dutch government decided to maintain the position of the coastline by artificial sand nourishment. An intensive management of the foredunes was no longer required. Consequently, natural processes in the foredunes revived, and the sediment budget of the beach–dune system changed. Two main types of responses are visible. In some areas, increased input of sand resulted in the development of embryonic dunes seaward of the former foredunes, leading to increased stabilisation of the former foredunes. In other areas, development of embryonic dunes was insignificant despite the increased sand input, but wind erosion features developed in the foredunes, and the environment was more dynamic. The reasons for the differences are not clear, and the interaction between shoreface, beach and dunes is still poorly understood. Until now, attempts to mobilise the inner dunes were independent of changes made to the foredunes. We argue that an integrated, dynamic approach to coastal management, taking account of all relevant functions (including safety and natural values) and the dune–beach system as a whole, may provide new and durable solutions. An integrated approach would ideally provide fresh sand to the system by sand nourishment; define a wide safety zone, which enables the transition zone of beach to foredunes to develop freely; reserve space for natural processes without restrictions; and stimulate natural redistribution of sand within the system and restore inland transport of sand by removing vegetation behind the foredunes. A long time scale (several decades) is needed for this approach to be successful
Original languageUndefined
Article numberSI
Pages (from-to)205-213
Issue numberSI
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • METIS-298409
  • IR-90819

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