, Volume 61, Issue 1–3, pp 65–75

Coastal fore-dune zonation and succession in various parts of the world

  • Henk Doing
Vegetation Studies


A table is presented of the most important species of the fore-dune complex in various parts of the world, representing all continents. The complex is divided into six zones or habitat types, which have proved to be widely applicable for this purpose. The zones are briefly described in terms of floristics, geomorphology, ecology (sand movement, salinity, organic matter) and climate. A major division is indicated between tropical (including subtropical) and temperate (including cold) regions. The former are subdivided into those with humid and those with arid climates, the latter into those with cool to warm-temperate and those with boreal to subarctic climates. The highest, most extensive and most complicated dune areas occur in those regions where the effects of disturbance by wind and fixation by plant growth are about equally strong. A number of species show the ‘retraction phenomenon’: a shift from a certain zone towards a more sheltered zone in an area with more harsh conditions (e.g. a shorter vegetation period). The filling of empty niches by introduced species (e.g. in connection with the scarcity of native tidemark species in temperate Australia) is also quite common. Most communities are rich in (sub)cosmopolitan species.


Coastal sand dune Ecosystem succession Phytogeography Synecology Vegetation zonation 


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Copyright information

© Dr W. Junk Publishers 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henk Doing
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Vegetation Science, Plant Ecology and Weed ScienceAgricultural UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

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