Sand dunes introduction
Learn how to maintain and improve these extremely fragile, valuable, natural habitats through manual work.
This is a Handbook of sand dune management. It is intended to be used by conservation volunteers and all others interested in maintaining or improving valuable natural habitats through manual work.
Like many coastal habitats, sand dunes are extremely fragile, attuned to natural changes but not to those caused by man. Pollution, ill-planned development and overuse have already degraded great stretches of coastline and threaten to engulf others. Solutions, in many cases, must be legal and political and require integrated planning techniques which are beyond the scope of this Handbook. What is covered are problems which volunteer conservation groups can successfully attack, and the tools, organisation and methods which they can use on their tasks.
This Handbook first describes sand dune formation and the ecological and management principles of their conservation. It then goes into detail on why and how to protect and restore them and their wildlife. An understanding of dune ecology, accretion and erosion provides the key to sensitive handling of visitor problems which threaten to degrade even the most scenic and scientifically important dune systems. Reasons for stabilising dunes, appropriate strategies and methods of contouring, fencing and planting sand-trapping grasses and shrubs are given in detail. Access management and the siting and surfacing of pathways are described as a necessary part of dune protection. Further topics in vegetation management include control of sea buckthorn and other scrub as well as management by grazing and mowing. Important aspects of animal management are treated briefly, including, the protection of two rare and declining coastal species, the natterjack toad and the sand lizard.
Coastlands, particularly in Britain, have a diversity of physical form and of plant and animal life perhaps unequalled anywhere else. And despite the dangers which they now face, they remain among the areas least modified by man. How long this will hold true is open to doubt. What is certain is that conservation management is increasingly important. Volunteers can supply the necessary work force for many coastal protection tasks. And with luck they may even get a tan at the same time.
Throughout the text, points which it is desired to stress and lists of items of equipment etc are set out in a, b, c order. Sequential operations and procedures are given in 1, 2, 3 order. Scientific terms and words used in a technical sense are defined in the Glossary. References to written source material are incorporated in the text and give the author first, followed by publishing date. Full listings of these and other useful works are given in the Bibliography.
Measurements are given first in metric units, followed in brackets by the imperial equivalent approximated to the accuracy required. Occasionally a dimension, and more often a product specification, is given in one unit only, according to current manufacturers’ listings.