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Coastal dune evolution on a shoreline subject to strong human pressure: the Dunkirk area, northern France
Ruz, M.-H.; Anthony, E.J.; Faucon, L. (2005). Coastal dune evolution on a shoreline subject to strong human pressure: the Dunkirk area, northern France, 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. 441-449
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

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Document type: Conference paper

Keywords
    Dunes; ANE, France, North [gazetteer]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Ruz, M.-H., more
  • Anthony, E.J.
  • Faucon, L.

Abstract
    The extreme northern coast of France from Dunkirk to the Belgian border is bounded by coastal dunes that have been massively transformed by urban and port development. The only stretch of preserved dune barrier, less then 8km long, is located east of the port of Dunkirk. The foredune ridge was seriously damaged at the beginning of the 20th century by urban development and almost completely destroyed during World War II. In the 1980s, the foredune, 10 to 20m high, was affected by breaches and blowouts, and by erosional scarps cut during storm events. The dunes are presently in a state of meso-scale (decadal) stability. This stability is attributed in part to human intervention. In the early 1990s, active restoration was carried out by the Departmental Authority of the North (Conseil Général du Nord) in charge of the management of these coastal dunes. These measures have resulted in incipient foredune development along accreting sectors. Collaborative work involving beach and foredune surveys carried by the Coastal Geomorphology and Shoreline Management Unit of the Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale and the Conseil Général du Nord over the past years has enabled better insight into beach and foredune sediment dynamics. Aeolian sand transport measurements enable quantification of sand exchanges within the dune front. The influence of sand fences and brushwood barriers on incipient foredune growth is presently studied along an experimental sector. These surveys highlight the current stability of this coast. Much of the foredune foreslope is now stabilized by vegetation and only episodic dune scarping occurs during winter, with recovery in summer. There is, however, a need to address more precisely the exact role of human interventions in the present status of shoreline stability. The restoration practices mentioned above have significantly encouraged foredune stability and incipient foredune development. However, no major storms have occurred since 1990 and a context of net sediment supply from foreshore to dune has certainly been a factor in enhancing shoreline stability and dune development.

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