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Human activity and potential impacts on dune breeding birds in the Alexandria Coastal Dunefield
Watson, J.J.; Kerley, G.I.H.; McLachlan, A. (1996). Human activity and potential impacts on dune breeding birds in the Alexandria Coastal Dunefield. Landsc. Urb. Plan. 34(3-4): 315-322.
In: Landscape and Urban Planning. Elsevier Science: Amsterdam; Tokyo; Oxford; New York . ISSN 0169-2046, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Watson, J.J.
  • Kerley, G.I.H.
  • McLachlan, A.

    Human use of coasts has increased considerably with increasing demand for recreational experiences, increased availability of off-road vehicles (ORVs) and population increase. Besides impacts on dune morphology and flora, humans and ORVs also affect the fauna. The Alexandria Dunefield in Algoa Bay comprises a 50 km sandy beach backed by a 2.1 km wide strip of dunefield. The dunefield is largely conserved, but access to the beach is allowed under permit, and the beach is heavily utilised by fishermen and recreational ORV drivers. The area is also important for dune breeding birds. Beach and dune use by fishermen and other users was quantified by recording their position relative to the high water mark and along a 20 km stretch of beach, and through analysis of access permits and angling competition data. An increase in vehicle use in the area was observed. An indication of human perception of the area was obtained by questionnaires. Eighty percent of human activity was concentrated in 50% of the study site where the highest concentration of dune breeding birds nest. Sixty percent of the vehicles recorded, were on or above the high water mark (in the dunes). Of the beach-users interviewed, 74% suggested that only registered vehicles should be allowed on the beach. Most (80%) anglers had no problem determining the position of the high water mark. There is an overlap in area and seasonal use between beach-users and breeding birds. With specific areas along the beach being heavily impacted and vehicles utilising the area above the high water mark the potential for impact on the fauna and flora of these areas is high. There is a need to educate beach users as to the vulnerability of dune systems and to develop appropriate management guidelines to minimise the impacts of beach users on the dune fauna.

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