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|Managing the Flemish dunes: from eco-gardening to mechanical disturbances created by bulldozers|
Lemoine, G.; Faucon, L. (2005). Managing the Flemish dunes: from eco-gardening to mechanical disturbances created by bulldozers, in: Herrier, J.-L. et al. (Ed.) (2005). Proceedings 'Dunes and Estuaries 2005': International Conference on nature restoration practices in European coastal habitats, Koksijde, Belgium 19-23 September 2005. VLIZ Special Publication, 19: pp. 239-246
In: Herrier, J.-L. et al. (Ed.) (2005). Proceedings 'Dunes and Estuaries 2005': International Conference on nature restoration practices in European coastal habitats, Koksijde, Belgium 19-23 September 2005. VLIZ Special Publication, 19. Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ): Oostende. XIV, 685 pp., more
In: VLIZ Special Publication. Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ): Oostende. ISSN 1377-0950, more
Dunes; Grazing; Marshes; Wetlands; Belgium, Flanders: North [gazetteer]; Marine
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The ‘Conseil Général du Département du Nord’ is the manager of 480ha of Flemish dunes located at the far North of France. These spaces, initially preserved by the action of the ‘Communauté Urbaine de Dunkerque’ are now the property of the ‘Conservatoire de l’Espace Littoral et des Rivages Lacustres’. Characterised by an aelian dynamism and by the winter flooding of their damp depressions, these systems had represented a very high patrimonial richness before man, by these actions (the pumping of the aquifers, the parcelling out of dune massifs, the fixation of sand by plantations, the destruction of rabbits), reduced to nothing the natural expression of perturbations (storms, floods, important sandbanks) and made dune massifs become wastelands and low marshes and dry lawns disappear. The first step for preservation was the in extremis safeguard and the maintenance by secateurs (1989) then by motor scythes (1992) of micro-habitats with a high richness over a 2ha total surface lost in very important pre-forested systems. Rapidly, the objectives of preservation obliged us to put into practice the restoration of natural environments by stripping and clearing the ground (1994 and 1997). But these operations of a large scale (10ha) were always based on a ‘fixist’ and ‘museographical’ approach to the environment (the maintenance of a representative sample of habitats). The management which consists of stopping certain pioneer and post-pioneer stages of vegetation can in fact correspond to a counter-natural step as these dune systems make the proof of a very high dynamism and permanent evolution. Today the management of dune space is done by bulldozers: first the pre-forested vegetation is totally destructed (16ha in 2004) leaving systems of bare sand freely evolving and accepting their spontaneous wastelanding over more than 50% of their surfaces. The return to uncontrolled vegetal dynamism is only accepted if perturbations are periodically created in order to regularly produce the starting or reappearance conditions of the different series of vegetation. The last stage of our managing operations would consist, with a middle-term effect, in reducing the stability of the edging dune row and in favouring the development of wind passages with their devastation or saving effects on the dune we intend to preserve.