, Volume 478, Issue 1, pp 181–203

Restoration of coastal dune slacks in the Netherlands

  • A.P. Grootjans
  • H.W.T. Geelen
  • A.J.M. Jansen
  • E.J. Lammerts

DOI: 10.1023/A:1021086832201

Cite this article as:
Grootjans, A., Geelen, H., Jansen, A. et al. Hydrobiologia (2002) 478: 181. doi:10.1023/A:1021086832201


In order to stop the continuous decline of typical dune slack communities along the Dutch coast, restoration projects have been carried out since 1952. Restoration measures consisted of re-introducing traditional management techniques in dune slacks, such as mowing, grazing and sod removal, or constructing artificial dune slacks to compensate for lost biodiversity elsewhere. An analysis of successful and unsuccessful projects showed that constructing new dune slacks was not very successful for maintaining new populations of endangered dune slack species, since such projects were often carried out in areas where seed banks were depleted, while hydrological conditions and seed dispersal mechanisms were sub-optimal. The construction of sand dikes to prevent sea intrusion in large beach plains was, unintentionally, a temporary success for the establishment of many Red List species, although such measures often disrupted natural dune slack formation. Successful sites were all characterised by a regular discharge of calcareous groundwater provided by local or regional hydrological systems, where not very long ago populations of typical dune slack plants were present. Under such conditions, sod removal was a successful measure to create pioneer stages which were relatively stable, due to a very slow accumulation of organic matter in the topsoil. It is argued that new and more flexible coastal defence strategies can provide new opportunities for natural and relatively stable pioneer stages of dune slack formation, suitable for the long term preservation of endangered dune slack species.

conservation dune slacks hydrology stable state succession public water supply restoration 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • A.P. Grootjans
    • 1
  • H.W.T. Geelen
    • 2
  • A.J.M. Jansen
    • 3
  • E.J. Lammerts
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Plant BiologyUniversity of GroningenHarenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Amsterdam Water SupplyAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.WMO, Water Company OverijselZwolleThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and FisheriesGroningenThe Netherlands