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Changes in landscape and vegetation of coastal dunes in northwest Europe: A review

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Changes in landscape and vegetation of coastal dunes in northwest Europe : A review. / Provoost, Sam; Jones, M. L. M; Edmondson, S. E.

In: Journal of Coastal Conservation, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2011, p. 207-226.

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-article

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@article{e556847a72084f40a3a4f0ebf56dc4e1,
title = "Changes in landscape and vegetation of coastal dunes in northwest Europe: A review",
abstract = "In coastal dunes, landscape changes are a rule, rather than an exception. This paper gives an overview of changes in landscape and vegetation with a focus on the past century. The history of dunes is characterised by phases of sand drift, alternated with geomorphological stability. The historical development of dune woodland during these stable phases has been documented for sites allover Europe. Vegetation reconstructions of historical open dune habitats however is very difficult due to limited preservation of fossil remains. People have drastically altered coastal dune landscapes through centuries ofexploitation and more recently development of the coast.Historical land use has generally pushed vegetation back into a semi-natural state. During roughly the past century a tendency of increasing fixation and succession is observed on coastal dunes throughout northwest Europe. Six causes of change are discussed. 1) Changes in land use, mainly abandonment of agricultural practices, have led to the development of late successional stages such as scrub and woodland. 2) Crashing rabbit populations due to myxomatosisin the 1950s caused vigorous grass growth and probably stimulated scrub development. 3) A general tendency of landscape fixation is observed due to both natural and anthropogenic factors. 4) Eutrophication, mainly due to atmospheric nitrogen deposition is clearly linked to grass encroachment on acidic but also on some calcareous dunes. 5) The impact of climate change onvegetation is still unclear but probably lengthening of growing season and maybe enhanced CO2 concentrations have led to an acceleration of succession. 6) A general anthropogenisation of the landscape occurs with rapid spread of non-native species as an important consequence. The reconstruction of a natural reference landscape is considered largely unattainable because of irreversible changes and the long tradition of human impact, in manycases since the development of the dunes. Two contradictory elements need reconciliation. First, the general acceleration of succession and scrub and woodland development in particular is partly caused by a decreased anthropogenic interference in the landscape and deserves more appreciation.Second, most biodiversity values are largely linked to open, early succession dune habitats and are threatened by the same tendency. Apart from internal nature management, in which grazing plays an important part, re-mobilisation of stable, senescent dunes is an important challenge for dune management.",
author = "Sam Provoost and Jones, {M. L. M} and Edmondson, {S. E}",
year = "2011",
doi = "10.1007/s11852-009-0068-5",
language = "English",
volume = "15",
pages = "207--226",
journal = "Journal of Coastal Conservation",
issn = "1400-0350",
publisher = "Springer",
number = "1",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Changes in landscape and vegetation of coastal dunes in northwest Europe

T2 - A review

AU - Provoost, Sam

AU - Jones, M. L. M

AU - Edmondson, S. E

PY - 2011

Y1 - 2011

N2 - In coastal dunes, landscape changes are a rule, rather than an exception. This paper gives an overview of changes in landscape and vegetation with a focus on the past century. The history of dunes is characterised by phases of sand drift, alternated with geomorphological stability. The historical development of dune woodland during these stable phases has been documented for sites allover Europe. Vegetation reconstructions of historical open dune habitats however is very difficult due to limited preservation of fossil remains. People have drastically altered coastal dune landscapes through centuries ofexploitation and more recently development of the coast.Historical land use has generally pushed vegetation back into a semi-natural state. During roughly the past century a tendency of increasing fixation and succession is observed on coastal dunes throughout northwest Europe. Six causes of change are discussed. 1) Changes in land use, mainly abandonment of agricultural practices, have led to the development of late successional stages such as scrub and woodland. 2) Crashing rabbit populations due to myxomatosisin the 1950s caused vigorous grass growth and probably stimulated scrub development. 3) A general tendency of landscape fixation is observed due to both natural and anthropogenic factors. 4) Eutrophication, mainly due to atmospheric nitrogen deposition is clearly linked to grass encroachment on acidic but also on some calcareous dunes. 5) The impact of climate change onvegetation is still unclear but probably lengthening of growing season and maybe enhanced CO2 concentrations have led to an acceleration of succession. 6) A general anthropogenisation of the landscape occurs with rapid spread of non-native species as an important consequence. The reconstruction of a natural reference landscape is considered largely unattainable because of irreversible changes and the long tradition of human impact, in manycases since the development of the dunes. Two contradictory elements need reconciliation. First, the general acceleration of succession and scrub and woodland development in particular is partly caused by a decreased anthropogenic interference in the landscape and deserves more appreciation.Second, most biodiversity values are largely linked to open, early succession dune habitats and are threatened by the same tendency. Apart from internal nature management, in which grazing plays an important part, re-mobilisation of stable, senescent dunes is an important challenge for dune management.

AB - In coastal dunes, landscape changes are a rule, rather than an exception. This paper gives an overview of changes in landscape and vegetation with a focus on the past century. The history of dunes is characterised by phases of sand drift, alternated with geomorphological stability. The historical development of dune woodland during these stable phases has been documented for sites allover Europe. Vegetation reconstructions of historical open dune habitats however is very difficult due to limited preservation of fossil remains. People have drastically altered coastal dune landscapes through centuries ofexploitation and more recently development of the coast.Historical land use has generally pushed vegetation back into a semi-natural state. During roughly the past century a tendency of increasing fixation and succession is observed on coastal dunes throughout northwest Europe. Six causes of change are discussed. 1) Changes in land use, mainly abandonment of agricultural practices, have led to the development of late successional stages such as scrub and woodland. 2) Crashing rabbit populations due to myxomatosisin the 1950s caused vigorous grass growth and probably stimulated scrub development. 3) A general tendency of landscape fixation is observed due to both natural and anthropogenic factors. 4) Eutrophication, mainly due to atmospheric nitrogen deposition is clearly linked to grass encroachment on acidic but also on some calcareous dunes. 5) The impact of climate change onvegetation is still unclear but probably lengthening of growing season and maybe enhanced CO2 concentrations have led to an acceleration of succession. 6) A general anthropogenisation of the landscape occurs with rapid spread of non-native species as an important consequence. The reconstruction of a natural reference landscape is considered largely unattainable because of irreversible changes and the long tradition of human impact, in manycases since the development of the dunes. Two contradictory elements need reconciliation. First, the general acceleration of succession and scrub and woodland development in particular is partly caused by a decreased anthropogenic interference in the landscape and deserves more appreciation.Second, most biodiversity values are largely linked to open, early succession dune habitats and are threatened by the same tendency. Apart from internal nature management, in which grazing plays an important part, re-mobilisation of stable, senescent dunes is an important challenge for dune management.

U2 - 10.1007/s11852-009-0068-5

DO - 10.1007/s11852-009-0068-5

M3 - A1: Web of Science-article

VL - 15

SP - 207

EP - 226

JO - Journal of Coastal Conservation

JF - Journal of Coastal Conservation

SN - 1400-0350

IS - 1

ER -

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