Ecohydrological studies of dune slack vegetation at Kenfig dunes, South Wales, UK
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Dune slacks are important coastal sand dune habitats and seasonal changes in water levels within dune aquifers control both their formation and the specific hydrological conditions which then govern the floristic composition of their characteristic plant communities. Kenfig Dunes National Nature Reserve is one of the largest dune sites in South Wales and Southern Britain. It supports an exceptional range of dune slack communities, including most of those recognised in the British National Vegetation Classification scheme. Detailed studies of the vegetation ecology and hydrology of dune slacks reveal the important influence of hydrological variables in controlling the composition of dune slack vegetation and also valuable information on water table profile and the key factors governing the annual hydrological budget of the dune system aquifer.
KeywordsGroundwater Humid dune slacks Hydrology Coastal sand dunes
PSJ gratefully acknowledges receipt of an A.H. Trow University College Cardiff award between 1985 and 1988. The authors would like to thank David Carrington (Warden of Kenfig Dunes NNR, Bridgend County Borough Council) for continuing the groundwater monitoring at Kenfig Dunes and Mike Streetly of ESI Ltd. for use of information relating to Kenfig Dunes NNR. We also wish to acknowledge the strong and enthusiastic support provided by the late Steve Moon, Kenfig’s first Warden, for the Ph.D programme undertaken by PSJ. We thank Dr John Miles of the School of Engineering, Cardiff University, for advice and the use of his soil moisture balance model.
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