Journal of Coastal Conservation

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 29-39

First online:

Possibilities for management of coastal foredunes with deteriorated stands ofAmmophila arenaria (marram grass)

  • Putten W. H. van der Affiliated withNetherlands Institute of Ecology
  • , Peters B. A. M. Affiliated withNetherlands Institute of Ecology

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Ammophila arenaria (marram grass) is the most important plant species for sand stabilization in European coastal foredunes. Stand degeneration due to poor supply of wind-blown sand enhances the susceptibility for wind erosion when successional species do not become established. ReplantedA. arenaria often fails to become established.

In the present study we examined whether management practices such as mowing, fertilizing, burning or below-ground cutting of plants may be applied to re-establish the vigour ofA. arenaria. Field experiments performed at exposed sites, where naturally succeeding plant species are not supposed to become established due to salt spray, showed that none of the applied methods resulted into enhanced tiller density ofA. arenaria. Thus, further studies are necessary to solve this type of management problem.

At the leeward side of foredunes, the successional speciesFestuca rubra ssp.arenaria andElymus athericus could be established successfully as both pre-grown seedlings and planted bundles of cuttings (all further experiments were fertilized). When planted in spring, cuttings of successional plant species established less than those planted in early winter. Water repellency of the sand surface is supposed to be the main cause for this. Pre-grown seedlings were less susceptible for the season of planting. Direct sowing was not effective. Rabbit browsing had to be omitted to obtain successful establishment. When living rhizomes of successional plant species were still present in the soil profile, fencing alone turned out to be effective to re-establish vegetation at initially bare sites.


Generative propagation Planting time Rabbit grazing Sand stabilization Succession Vegetative propagation Water repellency