|Erosion in Scottish machair with particular reference to the Outer Hebrides|
Angus, S.; Elliot, M.M. (1992). Erosion in Scottish machair with particular reference to the Outer Hebrides, in: Carter, R.W.G. et al. (Ed.) Coastal dunes: geomorphology, ecology and management for conservation: Proceedings of the 3rd European Dune Congress Galway, Ireland, 17-21 June 1992. pp. 93-112
In: Carter, R.W.G. et al. (Ed.) (1992). Coastal dunes: geomorphology, ecology and management for conservation: Proceedings of the 3rd European Dune Congress Galway, Ireland, 17-21 June 1992. A.A. Balkema [etc.]: Rotterdam. ISBN 90-5410-058-3. 533 pp., more
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While erosion of soft coasts is a global problem, erosion of Scottish machair is possibly perceived more acutely because of the close historical and present-day links between the habitat and Man. Scottish machair is now regarded as having international importance both for nature conservation and for its physiographic, botanical and ornithological interest. Dune and machair systems are by their very nature dynamic and therefore erosion and deposition may occur naturally. The high average and extreme wind speeds which have contributed to the formation of the habitat also threaten it via its inherent instability. Natural erosion caused primarily by wind and water action occurs but is not necessarily regarded as a problem. Wind acts on the vegetated surface damaged either by grazing animals introduced by Man or by his own activities. Many systems have increasing problems associated with one or more of the following: rabbit scraping/burrowing and grazing, cropping of stabilising plants, changes in arable and pastoral agriculture, sand extraction, recreation, tourism, and even misguided attempts at habitat restoration. While many Hebridean communities perceive an erosion problem today, archaeological and historical evidence suggest that the machair is relatively stable at present. The worst erosion period within historic times has been closely linked to the collection of kelp. Although catastrophic erosion of huge areas of machair and the destruction of entire settlements has not occurred recently, local residents, Local Authorities, visitors and conservationists view nevertheless some present-day erosion as a problem yet perceptions vary enormously even at individual sites. In dealing with such erosion problems it is necessary to recognise that every site requires its own particular solution. Case histories are presented which show that properly planned and managed reinstatement schemes can succeed but some well-intentioned, yet ill-advised, schemes can magnify problems.