Historically, management of coastal dune systems has often involved artificial stabilization of active sand surfaces in order for coastal areas to be more easily controlled and modified for human benefit. In North America, the introduction of invasive grasses, namely European and American beach (marram) grasses (Ammophila spp.) has been one of the most successful strategies used for stabilizing active coastal dune sands. Recent research has demonstrated, however, that stabilization of coastal dunes often leads to reduced landform complexity and resilience, as well as declines in species diversity. More 'dynamic' restoration efforts have emerged over the past 20 years that encourage dune mobility and aeolian activity in order to provide a more resilient biogeomorphic system. In North America, there is generally little research relating restoration methods and outcomes to geomorphic responses despite the fundamental importance of sedimentary processes and dune morphodynamics in broader ecosystem function. This paper aims to better situate dynamic dune restoration within current geomorphic understanding. A brief review of key terms and concepts used in the emerging field of dynamic dune restoration is provided and expanded upon with respect to geomorphologic considerations. A case study of a recent dynamic restoration effort in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, British Columbia, Canada is provide to demonstrate how these concepts are applied. Introduction of European marram at this site, coupled with a warming climate and increased precipitation in recent decades at this site, is thought to be associated with a rapid decline in aeolian activity, system stabilization and accelerated ecological succession. Preliminary results on the response of the dune system to mechanical removal of Ammophila are presented to provide the foundation for a research framework to guide the broader restoration project. Recommendations for improving treatment methodologies and monitoring protocols are provided to aid future restoration projects of this nature.
- Coastal dune
- Invasive vegetation
- Restoration monitoring
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Earth-Surface Processes
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)