A conceptual model of coastal dune ecology synthesizing spatial gradients of vegetation, soil, and geomorphology
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- Kim, D. & Yu, K.B. Plant Ecol (2009) 202: 135. doi:10.1007/s11258-008-9456-4
Patterns of coastal dune vegetation are closely related with soil conditions controlled by geomorphic forms and processes. This study developed a conceptual model integrating these relationships in a spatially explicit manner. A rectangle of 180 × 280 m containing 126 grids of 20 × 20 m was established in the Sindu coastal dunefield in west Korean Peninsula. Sampling from each grid determined 11 soil properties and identified percent cover of 21 woody and herbaceous plant species. Digital elevation models were generated by topographic survey and used to derive eight topographic parameters. Redundancy analysis and canonical correspondence analysis examined the effect of geomorphic factors on edaphic characteristics and the edaphic influence on spatial distribution of vegetation, respectively. The spatial pattern of soil properties and plant species were inferred from spatial interpolation techniques. In the foredune area, distance from the coastline was a significant indicator of soil nutrients derived from the marine sources by aeolian processes. This favored the dominance by Elymus mollis. Moisture-tolerant species (e.g., Calamagrostis epigeios) had high cover in the acidic soils of dune slacks, which covaried with wetness index, an indirect measure of the depth to the freshwater table. Vegetation–soil interactions (e.g., nitrogen fixation by legumes) were important in secondary dune areas, with topographic effects less significant. Vegetation, soil, and geomorphic factors are closely connected in a causal chain across a whole dune area. Our model thus addresses the importance of integrating foredune, dune slack, and secondary dune into one continuous system.