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Ecological aspects of vegetation removal from the coastal sand dunes of Israel
Tsoar, H.; Shachak, M.; Blumberg, D.G. (2005). Ecological aspects of vegetation removal from the coastal sand dunes of Israel, in: Herrier, J.-L. et al. (Ed.) 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. 487-493
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

Available in Authors 
Document type: Conference paper

Keywords
    Dunes; Eolian processes; Vegetation; Vegetation; Vegetation; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Tsoar, H.
  • Shachak, M.
  • Blumberg, D.G.

Abstract
    Coastal sand dunes are known to be (i) free of vegetation and active (ii) partly vegetated and active (iii) fully vegetated and fixed. Some of the dunes are vegetated naturally while others were artificially stabilised for the purpose of controlling sand movement or because of biological invasion of alien species. The vegetation that covers two parabolic coastal sand dunes south of Ashdod, Israel, was removed as part of a study of dunes management. This inventive and not so well known method of management was used despite the common idea that active sand dunes are an undesirable nuisance which are a threat to arable land and infrastructure elements. The aims of the research are (i) to study the geomorphological and dynamic responses of the dunes to removal of vegetation (ii) to monitor the rate of vegetation recovery, its pattern and effect on dune morphology and dynamics. Coastal dunes provide us with examples of dynamic natural processes and the nature of the ecosystems that they support depends on this dynamism. Re-mobility of stabilised dunes is an important technique of ecological restoration. The parabolic dunes of the research area were formed during the last 30 years and are characterised by phytogenic mounds, known as nebkhas, composed of windborne sand that was trapped within or around shrub canopies. The nebkhas were formed mostly on the crest of the dunes because the crest is the area of no erosion and no deposition. Two methods of vegetation removal were employed. First, removal by hand with no disturbance to the dune shape. By this method the nebkha mounds were sticking out at the dune crest. These exposed nebkhas turned the dune into a bluff body (a non-streamlined shape) that produces considerable resistance to the wind. The wind acts on the projecting mounds as an eroding force. After one year the nebkhas were not eroded. Artificial sand mounds near the nebkhas were eroded quickly after a couple of storms. The resistance of the nebkhas to the wind is due to the weave of the roots. In the second method, the nebkhas were flattened by a tractor shovel that reinstated the form of active transverse dunes. In both methods the roots of the shrubs started to sprout and grow, particularly in the dune that was exposed by the first method.

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