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Natural Plant Diversity Development on a Man-Made Dune System

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Restoration of Coastal Dunes

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Abstract

Twenty-four years of succession on a man-made beach–dune system on the Baltic coast of Denmark, built in 1977–1978 of calcareous marine sand, with the dune planted with Ammophila arenaria, was studied in seven permanent plots. The aim of the study was to investigate the relationship between plant diversity and dune development processes in the man-made dune system, and to examine whether the processes are similar to those in natural systems. During the study period, which started in 1979, the man-made dune stabilized quite quickly, while the beach expanded seaward because of the natural accretion of marine sand. On the beach, three rows of coast-parallel foredunes developed in succession. The species composition of the permanent plots gradually changed, while the total number of species in the plots increased from one (planted) to 26. The plot-year releveés were structured into six groups by TWINSPAN. The stabilization of the man-made dune, as well as the gradual seaward movement of active dune formation, was reflected in the spatial and temporal distribution of the TWINSPAN groups. Furthermore, the sequence of the groups largely matched the succession previously described from younger parts of coastal dunes elsewhere along the Baltic and NW European coasts. The gradual change in plant diversity could be related to increasing habitat differentiation, the successive immigration of species, the declining relative influence of the sea, and increasing stabilization.

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Acknowledgments

Most of the field work was carried out in cooperation with the late Professor Kjeld Hansen. I wish to thank Hans Henrik Bruun, Marisa Martinez, Patrick Hesp, and Juan B. Gallego-Fernandez for constructive comments on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Peter Vestergaard .

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Vestergaard, P. (2013). Natural Plant Diversity Development on a Man-Made Dune System. In: Martínez, M., Gallego-Fernández, J., Hesp, P. (eds) Restoration of Coastal Dunes. Springer Series on Environmental Management. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-33445-0_4

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