Reestablishing Naturally Functioning Dunes on Developed Coasts
Common beach management practices reduce the ecological values of coastal dunes. Mechanical beach cleaning eliminates incipient dunes, habitat for nesting birds, seed sources for pioneer dune colonizers and food for fauna, and artificially small, stabilized foredunes reduce the variability in microenvironments necessary for biodiversity. Recent initiatives for reducing coastal hazards, protecting nesting birds, and encouraging nature-based tourism provide incentive for the development of a restoration program for beaches and dunes that is compatible with human use. Suggested changes in management practice include restricting or rerouting pedestrian traffic, altering beach-cleaning procedures, using symbolic fences to allow for aeolian transport while preventing trampling of dunes, and eliminating or severely restricting exotic species. Landforms will be more natural in function and appearance but will be more dynamic, smaller and in a different position from those in natural areas. Research needs are specified for ecological, geomorphological, and attitudinal studies to support and inform restoration planning.