Analysis of coastal dune dynamics, shoreline position, and large woody debris at wickaninnish bay, pacific rim national park, British Columbia

Derek K. Heathfield, Ian Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Large woody debris (LWD) and colonizing vegetation alter the sediment budgets and stability of coastal dune systems. In British Columbia, LWD on beaches consists largely of historical escape logs from the coastal logging industry. In areas with strong wind regimes and high sand supply, LWD can trap appreciable amounts of windblown sand in the backshore, which can enhance foredune development and stabilization (roles typically played by vegetation) on stable or prograding shorelines. This additional store of sediment provides an important buffer that reduces erosion of established foredunes and backshore ecosystems. This study examines trends in LWD and vegetation coverage and associated geomorphic changes within the Long Beach unit of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve derived from aerial photography since the early 1970s. Over this time LWD has been reworked seasonally to interannually and, at Wickaninnish Bay, has declined in areal coverage by 61%. Despite this decline, LWD is found extensively within established foredunes and swales in the study area. In combination with vegetation colonization, this has promoted shoreline advance rates as rapid as 1.5 m·a-1. At Schooner Cove and Wickaninnish Beach, vegetation colonization is occurring rapidly and has reduced active sand surfaces of large, transgressive dunes landward of the foredune by ~28% over the 34 year observation period. This may reflect both park protection initiatives (i.e., reduced foot and vehicular traffic) and a warming and wetter climate regime on the British Columbia coast over the study period and suggests increasing future stabilization of dune systems in the area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1185-1198
Number of pages14
JournalCanadian Journal of Earth Sciences
Volume48
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes

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woody debris
dune
shoreline
national park
vegetation
beach
sand
stabilization
colonization
advance rate
sediment budget
aerial photography
analysis
warming
erosion
ecosystem
coast
industry
climate
sediment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this

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title = "Analysis of coastal dune dynamics, shoreline position, and large woody debris at wickaninnish bay, pacific rim national park, British Columbia",
abstract = "Large woody debris (LWD) and colonizing vegetation alter the sediment budgets and stability of coastal dune systems. In British Columbia, LWD on beaches consists largely of historical escape logs from the coastal logging industry. In areas with strong wind regimes and high sand supply, LWD can trap appreciable amounts of windblown sand in the backshore, which can enhance foredune development and stabilization (roles typically played by vegetation) on stable or prograding shorelines. This additional store of sediment provides an important buffer that reduces erosion of established foredunes and backshore ecosystems. This study examines trends in LWD and vegetation coverage and associated geomorphic changes within the Long Beach unit of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve derived from aerial photography since the early 1970s. Over this time LWD has been reworked seasonally to interannually and, at Wickaninnish Bay, has declined in areal coverage by 61{\%}. Despite this decline, LWD is found extensively within established foredunes and swales in the study area. In combination with vegetation colonization, this has promoted shoreline advance rates as rapid as 1.5 m·a-1. At Schooner Cove and Wickaninnish Beach, vegetation colonization is occurring rapidly and has reduced active sand surfaces of large, transgressive dunes landward of the foredune by ~28{\%} over the 34 year observation period. This may reflect both park protection initiatives (i.e., reduced foot and vehicular traffic) and a warming and wetter climate regime on the British Columbia coast over the study period and suggests increasing future stabilization of dune systems in the area.",
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