Current Impressions of European Dunes and Coasts

Research, Management, Conservation, Education

Field Stations


Meetings, Excursions



Welcome to the BEACH and DUNE NETWORK - Germany

Why a coastal dune network?

Coastal dunes are one of the most threatened habitats in Europe. They offer habitats for various, often specialised animals and plants; and the unique landscape constitute an important service for human well-being. Human pressure, landscape use and the nature values result in conflicts of interests.

Aims of the Coastal network, to

- conserve sand dunes, shingle and sand beaches as dynamic landscapes with unique nature values
- promote the sustainable use and management
- support policies and actions that maintain the intrinsic natural values
- develop a vibrant European network of communities concerned with coastal dunes and their management
- support the knowledge and understanding of coastal dunes, and
- to provide an international platform dedicated to coastal dunes

We set out to achieve this by

- enthusing and encouraging people to value and understand the habitats more thoroughly
- championing the habitats and support their nature value
- facilitating an exchange of knowledge and support actions that are good for the habitats
- making the Network an active community and a recognised source of expertise and authority at a global level

Who is involved?

The Network includes, amongst others, site managers, national policy makers, students, researchers, ecologists, geomorphologists, hydrologists, foresters, coastal engineers, tourism managers.... . Events always involve a cross-section of interests to bridge the gap between disciplines and to encourage lively debate.

Members' distribution (2020)


There are a number of national and regional dune networks already formed in several countries, e.g.

France, Great Britain, Poland, The Netherlands ...

Join the Network

Participation in the network is free. Network members will receive updates via email few times a year and have the opportunity for the input of information to the network.
To join the network, please send an email. Your data from the application will be entered in an internal (within the network), non-public accessible database. This allows us to connect interdisciplinary members if the need should arise. We welcome members from outside the Federal Republic of Germany, as one of the goals of our network is to promote cooperation in Germany, Europe, and worldwide. If you are interested in European or international cooperation, you can get in touch with the European Dune Network.


The Beach and Dune Network is operated on a voluntary basis.


Do you have hints or ideas for improving our network or holding events, or do you know people who could support the Beach and Dune Network? If so, please send us an email to Maike Isermann dunes-d (at)



beaches and dunes in 2020...

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Italy: erosion and disappearance of the dune systeman additional gift of climate change ?

Pisan coast, San Rossore Estate; in the background, the Alpi Apuane mountains. (c) Andrea Bertacchi, 2020


Ukraine: Dunes are overgrown by the invasive Elaeagnus angustifolia. On islands in the Black Sea in the 60s of the 20th century, Elaeagnus angustifolia was planted in order to fix the sands, but it began to spread into natural communities. (c) Anastasia Davydova, 2020
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Finland: Archipelago in the Baltic Sea - alien invasive Rosa rugosa is colonizing a protected sand island with rich biodiversity - it is time to start control work (c) Panu Kunttu, 2019
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Germany: Dry Empetrum heathland on Spiekeroog (c) Alicia Acosta, 2019

Calluna die-back on the island Hiddensee, Baltic Sea, Germany (c) Alba Anadon-Rosell

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Dune heathland with Empetrum nigrum and Calluna vulgaris on the island Hiddensee, Baltic Sea, Germany (c) Sven Dahlke. For more information please contact Irmgard Blindow or Alba Anadon-Rosell.





Salt Spray Distribution: a Review-2020-

Bas Arens, Luc Geelen

Jianhui Du & Patrick Hesp recently published a review article on Salt Spray Distribution and Its Impact on Vegetation Zonation on Coastal Dunes. Salt spray is, after sand deposition, often considered the second dominant factor contributing to vegetation zonation in coastal dunes. Salt Spray mainly originates from the bursting of bubbles in breaking waves, is carried by wind, intercepted by coastal dunes and plants, and redistributed in the sand/soil after precipitation. In this paper, the literature on salt spray distribution and impact on dune plants are reviewed.

SEE: Estuaries and Coasts


Foredunes: Geomorphology related to Management; Marine & Aeolian Processes-2020-

Luc Geelen

In their article “Geomorphologic characteristics and evolution of managed dunes on the South West Coast of France”    Victor Bossard and Alexandre Nicolae Lerma describe a geomorphologic classification of foredunes along the 230  km of the Aquitaine coast and they analyze relations between dune management actions and marine and aeolian driven processes.  Summing up management strategies conducted on the Aquitaine coast, three scenarios are generally considered to face the consequences of severe marine erosion. In the light of chronic erosion and relatively low sediment availably dynamics, these scenarios integrate into a stable to receding coast. With further sea level rise  over the next decades probably requires extensive new management strategies. And authors promote so-called “controlled dynamic strategy” or guided remobilisation in order to adapt these environments to actual and future pressures.



Restoration of Coastal Dunes-2020-

Gerben Ruessink

Coastal sand dunes are home to stunning, species-rich ecosystems and provide numerous services to mankind, such as storm protection, opportunities for tourism and production of drinking water. Most coastal sand dunes across Northwest Europe currently experience denser vegetation cover and geomorphological stabilisation, resulting in a rapid decline in biodiversity and loss of important services. Nature managers are therefore increasingly implementing pragmatic nature-based solutions to restore static dunes into dynamic ecosystems.

Trenches across the dunes on Terschelling. Photo credit: Gerben Ruessink.
Nature-based solutions will only be successful when based on fundamental insight into the ecological and geomorphological processes, and their feedback loops, that affect and control coastal dune systems. Within the Aeolus meets Poseidon project (2014-2019), Utrecht University pioneered into landscape-scale dune restoration research with drinking water companies, water authorities and other Dutch public and private partners. Based on detailed measurements, the project unravelled how one of the largest restoration projects along the Dutch coast evolved during the first years after its implementation and provided a conceptual model for future evolution. This model has already been used as a provisional guideline in the design of new restoration measures.In future work within the Water, Climate and Future Deltas hub, we aim to continue with:
  • Monitoring the vegetation evolution in restoration projects using new satellite systems in order to facilitate the evaluation of these projects by stakeholders;
  • Testing our conceptual model and converting it into a predictive bio-geomorphological coastal evolution model;
  • Contributing to solve present-day and future scientific and practice-inspired challenges in which combined nature and coastal protection goals are to be optimised


Dune management to support their natural dynamic? Discussion-2020-

A discussion about the publication from Delgado-Fernandez et al. (2019) "Is 're-mobilisation' nature restoration or nature destruction?" Journal of Coastal Conservation 23: 1093-1103 has started.

Comments are available:

Creer, J., Ratcliffe, J., Rees, S., Thomas, N., & Smith, P. (2020) Journal of Coastal Conservation 24: 3

Pye & Blott (2020) Journal of Coastal Conservation 24:10 -

Arens et al. (2020) Journal of Coastal Conservation 24:17 -



Memorandum of Understanding: climax of the LIFE project FLANDRE & start of a lasting cooperation-2020-

Jean-Louis Herrier

On Friday 14 February 2020, on the Franco-Belgian border between Adinkerke and Ghyvelde, the memorandum of understanding for the protection and management of the cross-border dune belts between Dunkirk (France) and Westende (Belgium) was signed by the representatives of the Agency for Nature and Forest of the Flemish Government, the French State, the Conservatoire du Littoral and the Département du Nord, in the presence of more than 50 spectators. The LIFE+Nature project FLANDRE ends on 1 March 2020, but the signing of the memorandum ensures the continuation and consolidation of the cooperation between the 4 partners mentioned above with the ultimate aim of improving nature and the experience of nature in a single cross-border European protected nature park.


©Marc Leten: the signatories, from left to right: Mathias Bigorgne (Deputy Director, Conservatoire du Littoral), Patrick Valois (Vice-President Conseil départemental du Nord), Stefan Borry (Head of the Site Management Division of the  Agency for Nature and Forests, Flemish Region) and Matthieu Dewas (Deputy Regional Director, DREAL, for the French State), flanked by project coordinator Jean-Louis Herrier (Agency for Nature and Forests, Flemish Region).

In the future, the partnership could be extended to include even more interested public authorities.

Link to the signed Memorandum:

A well illustrated report about the LIFE+ FLANDRE project, you will find:

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Layman’s Report of the LIFE+ FLANDRE project


Rabbits: Lessons from the past and abroad-2020-

Luc Geelen

The OBN Research project "Restoring Rabbit populations in coastal dunes" is halfway through. Some first results are published in a newsletter (OBN, 2019). Restocking is a commonly used practice in wildlife management, and particularly for European wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) in France, Portugal and Spain. Many populations are declining, primarily because of habitat destruction and both myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease.


Now that the rabbit is not doing well in many coastal dune areas, there are proposals to move rabbits from populations with good density. When the rabbits have completely disappeared, reintroduction may be an option. But improving existing populations with low density earlier may be a better strategy. There are some small experiments in the Netherlands with local reintroduction or addition of rabbits. In addition to a discussion of Dutch projects the OBN project will also deal with a literature study. Experience from management by dune farmers in the 17th century, and the experiences in France and Spain are gathered.

Rabbit breeding sites in the Netherlands

It is instructive to see how the dune farmers (“Duinmeiers”) in former days promoted rabbit populations. In the Netherlands in the 14th century already a system was created in the dunes of open warren "warandes" (breeding and hunting grounds), for commercial keeping of wild rabbits for their meat and fur. Information about their activities we owe Prof. Swaen for the translation of one of the oldest known manuscripts in the Dutch language, dealing with hunting and falconry from ± 1635.  In sparsely populated areas of the dune warren the duinmeier made artificial caves with a special drill. He fed the rabbits in the winter with hay, oats and bran or willow prunings. The “Duinmeier” fought predators and birds of prey; which led even to the eradication of the fox in the Dutch dunes.

Experience from France and Spain

In France and Spain, many rabbits have been released or placed for hunting in the past, an estimated thousands per year. Nowadays also rabbits are managed for the conservation of native predators. We see the same management here as with the Dutch duinmeiers: sufficient food, making artificial nests and protection against predators. In Spain people make great efforts to preserve the rabbit as a prey animal for rare predators such as the Iberian Lynx (Lynx pardinus) and the Spanish Imperial Eagle (Aquila adalberti). Improving the habitat turned out to be one positive effect on the rabbit population. In this case was the reduction by burning low shrubs seemed to be effective. Various factors are studied in a large experiment: the season in which the introduction is made, the numbers that are added and the quality of the release area (nutrient-rich and nutrient-poor habitat). Success was measured by survival, the extent to which the rabbits remained in the area  and the expected population growth. The highest success was achieved with a low number of released rabbits (40 on 15 ha)

in a nutrient-rich habitat. Placing in the breeding season is unfavorable, because there are many conflicts about mating and nesting during this period, where animals chase or injure each other. But because of considerable lack of knowledge most of current rabbit management programs should be revised to optimize the use of

available resources in the attainment of an effective rabbit density increase.

Letty (2003) has done experiments in France with additions of rabbits. He found a high mortality in the first two weeks and strong dispersion (withdrawal) of the new rabbits. In a population that the researchers followed day by day in the first two days after release 41-51% of rabbits died from predation or stress. And also later predation led to a lower survival than in a population protected against predators. The rabbits settled up to 225 meters from the artificial nests in which they were released. Moreover, the surviving rabbits that were introduces did not take fully part in reproduction.


In summary preliminary results show: 

  • Additional placement requires a lot of effort and is not always successful.
  • A prerequisite for success is the suitability of the habitat.
  • Protection against predators for a longer period is necessary.

OBN will provide a more detailed overview in their final report giving the methods and techniques used.

Swaen, A.E.H.(red), 1948. Jacht-Bedryff. Brill, Leiden,

Angulo, E., Calvete, C., Cabezas, S. &. Villafuerte, R. 2004: Scrub management and rabbit translocations at Doñana National Park: long and short-term effectiveness. 2nd world lagomorph conference.

Letty, J., Aubineau, J., Marchandeau, S. & Clobert, J. 2003: Effect of translocation on survival in wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). - Mammalian Biology 68: 250-255.

OBN, 2019. NEWSLETTER Recovery rabbit populations in the coastal dunes– oktober 2019 (In Dutch)  


Calluna heath die-back on the island Hiddensee, Baltic Sea, Germany-2020-

Alba Anadon-Rosell & Melanie Dombrowsky

Research include the stugy of the annual rings of Calluna vulgaris plants from Hiddensee, more specifically from two heathlands of different age at the Dünenheide. Collecting plants in groups of three growing next to each other: (1) plants that looked healthy, (2) plants that were dead and (3) plants that were a bit damaged. We replicated this several times across the heathlands. We are trying to find out whether plants died after the 2018 drought or before, and whether the die-back is related to their age and/or the growth of previous years.

In addition, a manipulation experiment was set up in the same area, also in two heatlands of different age. There, rain-out shelters have been built to simulate drought, and vegetation (mainly heather) has been clipped to simulate browsing. I attach a link with further explanations on the experiment:


DUNES~ Sea, Sand and People-2020-

Ana Marcelino

The project is an Environmental History project focused in the relation between people and coastal dunes.The team combines geologists, historians, geographers and biologists. Covering the last three centuries and using a transdisciplinary approach, our team will travel across borders and centuries to find out who were the pivotal actors that changed the course of history of coastal dunes.

Further Information:


Reduction of nitrogen input by precipitation - a entusiastic goal...-2020-

The Netherlands will allocate five billion euros over the next ten years to tackle nitrogen precipitation. In a letter to Minister Schouten and the four coastal provinces, the Duinbehoud Foundation asks to invest primarily in the proper management of nature restoration projects and in the construction of buffers around the nature reserves.

Marc Janssen, biologist and director of the Dune Conservation Foundation, is pleased that money is being released for nature restoration. “Five billion is a significant investment and a step in the right direction. But if it remains that way, nature will still be exposed to too much nitrogen in 2030. Investments are also necessary after 2030, in particular to structurally reduce nitrogen emissions. ”
Originally, the Dutch dune area is nutrient-poor. For centuries, flora and fauna have established their survival strategies for this. Now nitrogen is seriously disrupting the ecosystem. In the Dutch dune areas, this is reflected in an excessive vegetation with shrubs and grasses. As a result, dunes hardly drift and the original species-rich vegetation, birds and insects disappear. Birds find less and less food in overgrown places in the dunes. Animals are also victims.

Further information in Dutch:


Geomorphological Coastline Analysis-2020-

Paolo Pinna

Geomorphological coastline variations can be made with a fast, reproducible and low cost method. 

The method needs at least one fixed point for each study area, where acquire coastline images with a digital camera supported by a tripod. The images, for at least one series for season, needs small ans easy processing to be perfectly superimposable. Further processing make possible to highlight the evolution of the main geomorphological forms of the beach, as well as the tracking of the coastal lines and the qualitative evaluation of the surface of surfaced sediments. Free software (e.g Linux OS applications) can be used for both the first correction part, and for the second part (e.g with Qgis). 

Plus: low cost, portability, reproducibility, fast and easy data acquisition, fast and easy data processing, good results

Examples of method using: low cost monitoring of coastal variations for the management of sandy beaches; fast qualitative assessment of long shore drift trend in short and medium period (e.g. in the interpretation of erosion trends using annual or longer interval orthophotos); comparison with old non-technical photos (see the example in the comments).

For further information, please contact e.g. via


LIFE-REDCOHA Restoration of Danish Coastal Habitats-2020-

Jeppe Pilgaard

The focus of the layman's report 2019 is fighting Rosa rugosa in dunes and heathland, but also natural hydrology and establishment of bird islands are discussed.

Link to the report


Dynamic Dunescapes project-2020-

Emma Brisdion

Dynamic Dunescapes is a project restoring sand dunes across England and Wales for the benefit of people, communities and threatened dune wildlife.

This project will restore nine key dune areas, from Cornwall to Cumbria. These key areas include 34 individual dune systems and cover up to 7,000 hectares. Natural England, Plantlife, National Trust, Natural Resources Wales, Wildlife Trusts, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and Cumbria Wildlife Trust are working in partnership to deliver this ambitious project.

Running until 2023, this project will: restore sand dunes by carrying out pioneering conservation actions; raise awareness that healthy dunes need moving sand; encourage more people to explore, enjoy, and help protect the dunes through a programme of innovative public engagement and citizen science events and activities; develop skills to manage dunes better, both now and in the future.

Dynamic Dunescapes (DuneLIFE) is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the EU LIFE Programme (LIFE17NATUK/000570-DuneLIFE) for contact details of the team or to sign up for the email newsletter.


Sands of LIFE-2020-

'Sands of LIFE is a major conservation project to revitalise sand dunes across Wales, that will run until December 2022. The project will recreate natural movement in the dunes and rejuvenate habitats, which will help secure a home to some of our rarest wildlife, safeguard our wider environment and enable people to enjoy these biodiversity hotspots. This major project, led by Natural Resources Wales (NRW), will restore over 2400 hectares of sand dunes across four Special Areas of Conservation, on 10 separate Welsh sites: Tywyn Aberffraw, Newborough Warren, Morfa Dinlle, Morfa Harlech, Morfa Dyffryn, Laugharne - Pendine Burrows, Whiteford Burrows, Pembrey Burrows, Kenfig and Merthyr Mawr.'

Furter information:

Information and some presentations of the international workshop 2019 you will find here:

Email:  if you want to receive a newsletter

Website: sands-of-life WEBSITE


Beyond wind, sand and marram grass-2019-

Felix Osswald has published his Master Thesis on lessons for dune managers on the German Wadden island of Sylt. He looked at what could be learned from the colleagues in Denmark and The Netherlands.

Coastal dunes were conceptualised as Coupled Human And Natural Systems (CHANS). Besides policy documents, 14 semi-structured interviews and recent scientific presentations were used to develop conceptual models allowed Felix to create a vivid and comprehensive image of the dune protection and conservation strategies in these three countries. He incorporated the lessons learnedi in a praxis-oriented framework for initiating strategic

change in Sylt at three levels, namely the management of the foredunes, the secondary inland dunes and public information.

In case you are interested to take a look at the final thesis, it can now be downloaded at the webpage of the University of Groningen:


Effects of Sand Nourishment on Nature-2019-

Within the Dutch research program “Natuurlijk Veilig” (Naturally Safe)  effects of sand nourishment on nature are investigated.

The research will be completed in 2020. The latest update of the Dune Study shows some first results.

The provisional results indicate that nourishments had a strong positive relationship with the volume of the foredunes. Foredune management correlates strongly with the degree of dynamics

in the foredunes. The correlations between nourishments and dynamics in the foredunes, and between foredune management and volume changes are less pronounced.

in Dutch : landschapsvormende-processen


Successful final seminar of the LIFE projects REWETDUNE and WETHAB -2019-

Luc Geelen  ( & Marijn Nijssen (

The final seminar of both LIFE projects took place May 13-15, 2019 at Skagen, Denmark. The seminar focussed on sharing experiences on project approaches, results and challenges and lessons learned. The experiences on different topics were shared during field trips to both project sites. 

Skagen lays at the most northern point of Denmark. Due to the isostatic uplift of this part of Denmark the area deals with a relative sea level fall. The north spit system is very dynamic and the geomorphology is an interesting with berms and relatively low barriers. The N deposition is relatively low for western Europe ( 5-10 kg/ha/y). From 2000 – 2003 the Bargerveen Foundation used the almost intact calcium poor dune area around Skagen as reference area for the Dutch Wadden Islands, by studying the diet, prey availability and breeding success of the large population of Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio).

REWETDUNE-LIFE – Restoration of Wetlands in Dune HabitatsLIFE13 NAT/DK/001357, 2015-2020.

The aim of the project is to restore dune grassland and heathland of three EU habitats (2130 - Fixed coastal dunes with herbaceous vegetation; 2140 – Decalcified fixed dunes with Empetrum nigrum; 2190 – Humid dune slacks). Many invasive species such as Rugosa rose (Rosa rugosa), Dwarf mountainpine (Pinus mugo), Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), Black cherry (Prunus serotina), and Asian knotweed (Fallopia japonica) are found in the area. These species were planted in order to stabilize coastal sand dunes and have subsequently encroachedlarge parts of the open dune areas. In Denmark, the invasive species have adapted to salty soils and mild coastal climate. Distribution of the species - plantations as well as spontaneous growth - was reduced on a large scale ca. 1000 ha in the 6000 ha large area. Aside from that, mosaic vegetation was established and improved the status of several threatened plant species. 

We visited Råbjerg Mile, a migrating coastal dune, it is the largest moving dune in Northern Europe with an area of around 2 km and a height of 40 m above sea level. The dune contains a total of 4 million m3of sand. The wind moves it in a north-easterly direction almost 20 metres a year. The dune leaves a wet to moist duneslack behind, trailing back westwards, where the Mile originally started more than 300 years ago. These slacks are inhabited by important target species such as Natterjack toad (Epidalea calamita). In the area around the large moving dune encroachment of Dwarf mountainpine was combatted by sawing the stems.

LIFE WETHAB – Restoration of Wet Habitats in the Jerup Beach Ridge PlainLIFE12 NAT/DK/000803, 2013-2019.

Råbjerg Mire has been drained in order to extract peat and use the land for agriculture. The total area of the mire is 4024 ha, there are more than 550 private land units, therefore it was very difficult to come to an agreement with all landowners about management actions that should be implemented in the area. In the project area, the main management activities were tree cutting (in this area ±850 ha was cleared), reduction of invasive species distribution, restoration of hydrological regime, mowing, and grazing. In some territories of Råbjerg Mire, Sphagnum mosses, heather (Calluna vulgaris), and cross-leaved heath (Erica tetralix) can be found. The participants were very lucky to encounter the very rare Marsh Fritillary (Euphydryas aurinia)

The aim of the project is to restore mire, coastal, grassland, and forest habitats : 2130 - Fixed coastal dunes with herbaceous vegetation ("grey dunes"),2140 - Decalcified fixed dunes with Empetrum nigrum, 2190 - Humid dune slacks, 7110 - Active raised bogs, 7140 - Transition mires and quaking bogs, 7230 - Alkaline fens, 91D0 - Bog woodland, 4010 - Northern Atlantic wet heaths with Erica tetralix, 4030 - European dry heaths, 6230 - "Species-rich Nardus grasslands, on silicious substrates in mountain areas (and submountain areas in Continental Europe)", 6410 - "Molinia meadows on calcareous, peaty or clay-silt-laden soils (Molinion caeruleae). 

The Danish Ministry of Environments is the coordinating project manager and undertakes the project in partnership with Frederikshavn Municipality and the State Prison of Kragskovhede. The later organisation manages 675 ha. Inmates are involved in organic farming and participate in nature management actions, gaining skills in this way. Frederikshavn Municipality set up a special system for the local farmers with cattle on loan, furthermore networking wat promoted so they could share equipment, experiences and bulls.

The meeting was very well organized and the weather helped to make it a great success. Congratulations to the organizers!

For more information, please have a look at:



In the context of Natura 2000, rare species and vegetation types in the Netherlands are protected in a European perspective. This report (in Dutch with English summary) focuses on the H2130 Grey dunes Habitat type, for which the Netherlands has great responsibility within the EU.

Aeolian dynamics was and is a very important precondition for biodiversity of the coastal dunes. Aeolian dynamics ensure both rejuvenation of the soil, pioneering situations and succession to new dune grasslands. It is assumed that mild dynamics in the form of small-scale spraying can greatly contribute to the quality of dune grasslands. Due to changes in the use and management of coastal dunes, the dispersal dynamics have decreased in many dune areas in the past century. This has major consequences for biodiversity and therefore also the quality of Gray dunes.

In the Nitrogen Programmatic Approach (PAS) great importance is attached to the role of aeolian dynamics within the coastal dune landscape. In the PAS recovery strategy, the reactivation of spraying fresh sand is considered to be a proven measure for the development and / or conservation of habitat type H2130 Grey dunes (lime-rich as well as lime-poor), with which negative effects of nitrogen deposition can be mitigated. Within the PAS there are extensive interventions in the pipeline in he Netherlands to bring back aeolian dynamics on a particularly small scale within the dune landscape with the aim of improving the preconditions for Grey dunes. So there is an enormous, urgent need for practically applicable knowledge on this subject.

The purpose of this research is to find out what the most important factors are that control the development and the aeolian life of small-scale blowouts in coastal dunes. In addition, the influence of small-scale spraying of lime and sand in time and space on the maintenance ('ecological lifespan') of diversity of system-characteristic plants and animals in both limestone-rich and limestone poor dunes has been determined.

Finally, this knowledge has been translated into practical management tools for the maintenance, restoration and new development of Grey dunes by reactivating small blowouts.

“The aim of the Knowledge Network for Development and Management of Nature Quality (OBN) is to develop, disseminate and utilize knowledge for area managers about nature restoration, Natura 2000, PAS, habitat management approaches and the development of new nature. A number of specific management recommendations have also been published on the application of small-scale dynamics, which you can find at the management advice on ”



Book on SAND MOTOR research-2019-

Luc Geelen



Edited by Arjen Luijendijk and Alexander van Oudenhoven, 2019

The pilot project Sand Motor was constructed in 2011 on the Dutch North Sea coast near The Hague. It involved placing 21.5 million m3 of sand on and in front of the beach with the aim that it would spread along the coast. The unique nourishment project was born as a multifunctional answer to realizing a large number of functions, such as coastal safety, nature values, recreation and innovation. 

It is clear that the Sand Motor offered a unique “living lab”, both from an academic, technological and socio-political point of view, to conduct interdisciplinary research. A broad consortium of Dutch institutions and industries conducted  an interdisciplinary research project: the NatureCoast program, in which disciplines have interacted in an unprecedented way. The research in NatureCoast focused on six themes: coastal safety, dune formation, marine ecology, terrestrial ecology, hydrology and geochemistry, and governance. This book presents all these facets of the Sand Motor. wich is considered an icon of Building with Nature approach. Many important lessons are learned such as the importance of early stakeholder engagement.  Insight in the complex interplay of morphological and ecological processes, as well as societal response to large-scale coastline changes. Key to success was the continuous strive for demand-driven research, bridging the gap between management practice and academic science. A textbook example of the “learning by doing” principle.

The pdf-file you will find here:



Report about the Workshop "Management of coastal dunes and sandy beaches", that was organised in the frame of the LIFE Nature project ‘FLANDRE’  from the 12.-14.06.2018 at Dunkirk (France)

further information (including Book of Abstracts and presentations):

and the Report of the Sessions and Excursions that were organized during this workshop:



Building with Nature is an Interreg North Sea Region Project considering natural processes as protection against coastal erosion and flooding.

further information:



The action plan concerning knowledge exchange and networking during the period 2016-2020. The roadmap focus on the sustainable conservation and restoration of important habitats in dunes of the atlantic region. The roadmap will be reworked regularly.

further information:



This report shows clearly the dramatically bad state of the nature of european dunes. It is one reason, that we have to work for a much better quality of beaches and dunes. 

further information:State of nature in the EU.pdf


Publication: LIFE and coastal habitats-2017-

'This LIFE Nature publication highlights the issues threatening Europe’s coastal habitats and how the LIFE programme has addressed them.
Coastal regions generate 40% of our GDP, but development must be sustainable and must recognise the natural value of our varied coastlines. Only 13% of coastal species are in a 'favourable' conservation status, while 73% of coastal habitats are assessed as being 'bad' or 'inadequate'.
It is in the interests of all business sectors, from tourism to shipping and fisheries, to safeguard and improve the health of our coastal ecosystems. Adopting an ecosystem approach to their management fosters, rather than hinders, growth and jobs.
The publication, LIFE and coastal habitats, outlines the scope of innovative and best practices measures carried out by LIFE projects to improve the status of Europe’s coastal habitats and management of Natura 2000 network sites – from dune habitat conservation in the Baltic to coastal lagoon protection in the Black Sea. It features sections on all the different types of habitats targeted by the programme and concludes with a focus on the cross-cutting management issues facing coastal regions.' 

download pdf: LIFE and coastal habitats


Alien Species in Dunes and Dune Slacks-since 2017-

Many non-native species (species, brought after 1492 with direct or indirect human help into a region) occur in dunes and dune slacks. Only few of these species are invasive, are a threat to the biodiversity of genes, species, communities, ecosystems or landscapes. Nevertheless, there are species known to be invasive in dunes and dune slacks in Germany and neighbouring countries since few years or since decades, respectively. At this page we will bring together recent activities and knowledge…

Publications dealing with coastal dunes and invasive species-2017-

In the web of science since 1987 publications dealing with coastal dunes and invasive species are noticed. Since about 2000, the number of publications studied IAS in coastal dunes increased.

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Cotula arborescens subspec. gallica already seen in dunes ???

Non-native Species in the Dutch Wadden Sea Region

Van der Have, T.M., Van den Boogaard, B., Lensink, R,Poszig, D.,Philippart, C.J.M. (2015):Alien species in the Dutch Wadden Sea: policies and management. Common Wadden Sea Secretariat. Report 15-126. pdf Non-native and invasive species in Germany

Extensive information dealing with non-native and invasive species in Germany are offered by the Bundesamt für Naturschutz, the Governmental Agency for Nature Conservation,  e.g. species information sheets, management methods as well as the EU list are available…
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Mail to Maike Isermann dunes-d (at)

Natterjack Toads on the island of Sylt- since 2016-

Natterjack Toads are threatened on the island of Sylt and their population declines. Possible reasons are the low dynamic of the dunes; the dominance of old fixed dunes which is related to a decline of open and wet sandy stand. on the island of Sylt, on the entire island management measure will be done, supporting in the short as well as in the long term the environmental conditions to maintain the Natterjack population. 
Extensive information (in German)


Dynamic Dunes -2016-

An international conference on the rejuvenation of dynamic dunes and restoration of dune habitats. The conference presented the successful and innovative results of EU Life-projects Dutch Dune Revival (LIFE 09 NAT/NL/418) and Amsterdam Dunes, Source for Nature (LIFE 11 NAT/NL/776). The event was organised by PWN, Natuurmonumenten and Waternet. During the conference key topics for dune and coastal management were addressed during keynote presentations, workshops and eld visits.



Location: Friedrichsgroden 16, 26409 Carolinensiel
Landscape: North Sea, salt marshes
Facilities: 5 shared-rooms (4-5 persons), 2 double-rooms, kitchen self-catering, seminar room, 2 labs (dry and wet with sea water access) and standard lab equipment, separate room with microscopes/binoculars, yearlong available
Contact: Dr. Hans-Ulrich Steeger, steeger (at), phone: +49-251-8323868, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Institut für Zoophysiologie, Hindenburgplatz 55, 48143 Münster


Location: Hellerpad 2, 26474 Spiekeroog
Landscape: large dune areas with primary dunes, heathlands and dry grasslands without rabbits, more or less no wet slacks, salt marshes grazed and non-grazed
Facilities: 2 shared rooms (4-5 persons), 1 double room, kitchen self-catering, meeting room, lab, equipment particularly for mud and water studies, microscopes and binoculars
Contact: Homepage in German, thus contact them directly: forschung (at)


Location: Biologische Anstalt Helgoland, 27483 Helgoland
Landscape: Northsea, cliff coast with impressing bird breeding area, marine algae and kelp, dune areas and dry grasslands
Facilities: 23 double rooms, 53 single rooms, kitchens for self-catering or catering via youth hostel, seminar room, lab, comprehensive lab equipment including seawater access, microscopes, phase contrast microscopes, binoculars, yearlong available

ZINGST, Baltic Sea

Location: Mühlenstraße 27, 18374 Ostseeheilbad Zingst
Landscape: Baltic Sea Coast, Inland Coast with salt marshes, meadows and reed beds of the Darß Zingster Bodden, bird protection areas Kirr and Werder islands, large dune areas of the Darßer Ort, old dune forests Darßer Wald.
Facilities: 3 shared rooms (a 5 persons), 2 single rooms, kitchen self-catering, seminar room, boat, 3 labs, water and plankton analysing equipment, microscopes, yearlong available
Contact: PD Dr. Rhena Schumann, rhena.schumann (at), Universität Rostock/Mathematisch-naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät/Institut für Biowissenschaften/Angewandte Ökologie & Phykologie
Further Information


Location: Biologenweg 15, 18565 Kloster / Hiddensee
Landscape: Baltic Sea Coast, Inland Coast Bodden, salt marshes, reed beds, dunes with dry grasslands and heathlands, cliff coast
Facilities: 14 double rooms, 3 single rooms, kitchen self-catering, seminar room, 1 lab, some soil and microclimate measuring instruments, microscopes and binoculars, yearlong available
Contact: PD Dr. Irmgard Blindow, blindi (AT), phone +49-38300-50251, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald
Further Information




Andriolo, U., Gonçalves, G., Bessa, F., & Sobral, P. (2020). Mapping marine litter on coastal dunes with unmanned aerial systems: A showcase on the Atlantic Coast. Science of The Total Environment, 139632 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.139632

Arens, S. M., et al. 2020. Comment on ‘Is ‘re-mobilisation’nature restoration or nature destruction? A commentary’by I. Delgado-Fernandez, RGD Davidson-Arnott & PA Hesp. Journal of Coastal Conservation 24(2): 1-4.

Bazzichetto, M., Sperandii, M. G., Malavasi, M., Carranza, M. L., & Acosta, A. T. R. (2020). Disentangling the effect of coastal erosion and accretion on plant communities of Mediterranean dune ecosystems. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 106758.

Bertacchi, A. and Fagaras, M. 2020. Similarities and differences in dune habitats between Tuscan and Dobrogean coasts. Contributii Botanice 54: 133-148. LINK

Bossard, V., & Lerma, A. N. (2020). Geomorphologic characteristics and evolution of managed dunes on the South West Coast of France. Geomorphology367, 107312.

Decuyper, M., Van Den Dool, R., Slim, P. A., Kuiters, A. T., Jansen, J. M., & Sass-Klaassen, U. (2020). Population dynamics of Hippophae rhamnoides shrub in response of sea-level rise and insect outbreaks. PloS one15(5), e0233011.

Del Vecchio S, Fantinato E, Roscini M, Acosta ATR, Bacchetta G, Buffa G. The germination niche of coastal dune species as related to their occurrence along a sea–inland gradient. J Veg Sci. 2020;00:1–10.

Du, J., & Hesp, P. A. (2020). Salt Spray Distribution and Its Impact on Vegetation Zonation on Coastal Dunes: a Review. Estuaries and Coasts, 1-23.

Garcia-Lozano, C.; Pintó, J.; Roig-Munar, F.X. (2020). Set of indices to assess dune development and dune restoration potential in beach-dune systems on Mediterranean developed coasts. Journal of Environmental Management, 259: 109754.

Giulio, S, Acosta, ATR, Carboni, M, Campos, JA, Chytrý, M, Loidi, J, Pergl, J, Pyšek, P, Isermann, M, Janssen, JAM, Rodwell, JS, Schaminée, JHJ, Macenò, C 2020. Alien flora across European coastal dunes. Applied Vegetation Science.

Ievinsh G, Andersone-Ozola U, Samsone I (2020) Demographics of an endangered coastal plant, Eryngium maritimum, near the northeast border of the distribution range in relation to clonal growth. Environmental and Experimental Biology 18: 117–127
Kooijman, A., Morriën, E., Jagers op Akkerhuis, G., Missong, A., Bol, R., Klumpp, E., ... & Bloem, J. (2020). Resilience in coastal dune grasslands: pH and soil organic matter effects on P nutrition, plant strategies, and soil communities. Ecosphere11(5), e03112.
Kunttu, P., Pasanen, H., Rämä, T., Kunttu, S.-M., and Kotiranta, H. 2020: Diversity and ecology of aphyllophoroid fungi on driftwood logs on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Nordic Journal of Botany 38 (4): e02735
Maccherini, S, Bacaro, G, Tordoni, E, Bertacchi, A, Castagnini, P, Foggi, B, Gennai, M, Mugnai, M, Sarmati, S and Claudia Angiolini 2020. Enough is enoug? Searching for the optimal sample size to monitor European habitats: A case study from coastal sand dunes. Diversity 12(4): 138 doi:10.3390/d12040138
Pollmann, T., Tsukamoto, S., Frechen, M., & Giani, L. (2020). Rate of soil formation in Arenosols of dunes on Spiekeroog Island (Germany). Geoderma Regional20, e00246.
Prisco, I., Angiolini, C., Assini, S., Buffa, G., Gigante, D., Marcenò, C., ... & Acosta, A. T. (2020). Conservation status of Italian coastal dune habitats in the light of the 4th Monitoring Report (92/43/EEC Habitats Directive). Plant Sociology57, 55. DOI 10.3897/pls2020571/05
Roig-Munar, F.X.; Garcia-Lozano, C.; Pintó, J.; Martín-Prieto, J.A. Spatiotemporal evaluation of the geomorphological state of beach-dune systems using management criteria. Land Degradation and Development. In press.

Van der Hagen, H.G.J.M., Assendorp, D., Calame, W. et al.2020. Is livestock grazing a key factor for changing vegetation patterns in lime rich coastal dunes in the Netherlands?. J Coast Conserv. 24,15.

Valcheva, M., Sopotlieva, D., & Apostolova, I. (2020). Current state and historical notes on sand dune flora of the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. Flora, 267.

Zunzunegui, M., Ruiz-Valdepeñas, E., Sert, M. A., Díaz-Barradas, M. C., & Gallego-Fernández, J. B. 2020. Field comparison of ecophysiological traits between an invader and a native species in a Mediterranean coastal dune. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 146: 278-286.


Aagaard, T., & Kroon, A. 2019. Decadal behaviour of a washover fan, Skallingen Denmark. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms.

Adriaens, T., Verschelde, P., Cartuyvels, E., D'hondt, B., Vercruysse, E., van Gompel, W., ... & Provoost, S. (2019). A preliminary field trial to compare control techniques for invasive Berberis aquifolium in Belgian coastal dunes. NeoBiota, 53, 41.

Bertacchi, A., Cutini, M. & Paura, B. 2019. Dune habitats vulnerability to the climate change.n “THE RESEARCHES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PISA IN THE FIELD OF THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE” AGROCHIMICA. Special Issue , pages :189-195. ISBN: 978-883339-2929.

Davydova, A. 2019. Syntaxonomy of the vegetation of the National Nature Park Dzharylhatskyi. Classes Cakiletea maritimae and Ammophiletea. Thaiszia J. Bot 29(2): 111-132.

Díez-Garretas, B., Comino, O., Pereña, J., & Asensi, A. 2019. Spatio-temporal changes (1956-2013) of coastal ecosystems in Southern Iberian Peninsula (Spain). Mediterranean Botany, 40(1), 111-119.

Drius, M., Jones, L., Marzialetti, F., de Francesco, M. C., Stanisci, A., & Carranza, M. L. 2019. Not just a sandy beach. The multi-service value of Mediterranean coastal dunes. Science of the Total Environment, 668, 1139-1155.

Fruergaard, M., Kirkegaard, L., Østergaard, A. T., Murray, A. S., & Andersen, T. J. 2019. Dune ridge progradation resulting from updrift coastal reconfiguration and increased littoral drift. Geomorphology, 330, 69-80.

Garcia-Lozano, C.; Pintó, J.; Daunis-i-Estadella, J. (2018). Changes in coastal dune systems on the Catalan shoreline (Spain, NW Mediterranean Sea). Comparing dune landscapes between 1890 and 1960 with their current status. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 211: 23-35.

Garcia-Lozano, C.; Pintó, J. (2018). Current status and future restoration of coastal dune systems on the Catalan shore (Spain, NW Mediterranean Sea). Journal of Coastal Conservation, 22(3): 519-532.

Hallin, C., Huisman, B. J., Larson, M., Walstra, D. J. R., & Hanson, H. 2019. Impact of sediment supply on decadal-scale dune evolution—Analysis and modelling of the Kennemer dunes in the Netherlands. Geomorphology.

Holt, T., Greskowiak, J., Seibert, S. L., & Massmann, G. (2019). Modeling the evolution of a freshwater lens under highly dynamic conditions on a currently developing barrier island. Geofluids, 2019.

Hoonhout, B., & de Vries, S. 2019. Simulating spatiotemporal aeolian sediment supply at a mega nourishment. Coastal Engineering145, 21-35.

Kämpfer S, Fartmann T 2019. Breeding populations of a declining farmland bird are dependent on a burrowing, herbivorous ecosystem engineer. Ecological Engineering,Volume 140,105592,
ISSN 0925-8574,

Kujawa-Pawlaczyk, J. & Pawlaczyk, P. 2019 Translated title: Coastal habitats conservation management palnning, case study of Jezioro Wicko i Modelskie Wydmy PLH320068 NATURA 2000 site. Przyrodniczy XXX, 4: 27-57.

Kunttu, P. & Kunttu, S.-M. 2019. New records of the invasive alien Rosa rugosa (Rosaceae) in the Archipelago Sea National Park, SW Finland. Memoranda Societas pro Fauna et Flora Fennica 95: 81‒88.

Kunttu, P. & Kunttu, S.-M. 2019. New record of prickly saltwort (Salsola kali subsp. kali) in Parainen, SW Finland. Lutukka 35: 93‒95. (in Finnish with English summary)

Leira, M., Freitas, M. C., Ferreira, T., Cruces, A., Connor, S., Andrade, C., ... & Bao, R. 2019. Holocene sea level and climate interactions on wet dune slack evolution in SW Portugal: A model for future scenarios? The Holocene,29(1), 26-44.

Marzialetti, F., Bazzichetto, M., Giulio, S., Acosta, A. T., Stanisci, A., Malavasi, M., & Carranza, M. L. 2019. Modelling Acacia saligna invasion on the Adriatic coastal landscape: An integrative approach using LTER data.

Menicagli, V., Balestri, E. and Lardicci, C. 2019. Exposure of coastal dune vegetation to plastic bag leachates: A neglected impact of platic litter. Science of the Total Environment 683: 737-748

Nolet, C., & Riksen, M. J. 2019. Accommodation space indicates dune development potential along an urbanized and frequently nourished coastline. Earth Surface Dynamics, 7(1), 129-145.

Osswald, Felix; Dolch, Tobias; Reise, Karsten 2019. Remobilizing stabilized island dunes for keeping up with sea level rise? In: J Coast Conserv 23 (3), S. 675–687. DOI: 10.1007/s11852-019-00697-9.

Reijers, V.C., Siteur, K. Selwyn Hoeks, S., van Belzen, J., Borst, A.C.W., Heusinkveld, J.H.T., Govers, L.L., Bouma, T.J., Lamers, L.P.M., van de Koppel, Tjisse van der Heide, T. 2019. A Lévy expansion strategy optimizes early dune building by beach grasses. nature communication 10: 2656.

Reinikainen, M., Ryttäri, T., Kanerva, T., Kekäläinen, H., Koskela, K., Kunttu, P., Mussaari, M., Numers, M. von, Rinkineva-Kantola, L., Sievänen, M. & Syrjänen, K. 2019. Baltic Sea coast. In: Kontula, T. & Raunio, A. (eds.).Threatened Habitat Types in Finland 2018 - Red List of Habitats Results and Basis for Assessment. Finnish Environment Institute and Ministry of the Environment. The Finnish Environment 2/2019, pp. 61–71.
Rendall, A. R., R. Cooke, J. G. White, and M. A. Weston. 2019. Zonation of a small mammal community within coastal dunes. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 217:206-210.

Sarmati, S., Bonari, G., and Angiolini, C. 2019. Conservation status of Mediterranean coastal dune habitats: anthopogenic disturbance may hamper habitat assignment: Rendiconti Lincei. Scienze Fisiche e Naturali 30: 623-636.

Seibert, S. L., Böttcher, M. E., Schubert, F., Pollmann, T., Giani, L., Tsukamoto, S., ... & Holt, T. (2019). Iron sulfide formation in young and rapidly-deposited permeable sands at the land-sea transition zone. Science of the total environment, 649, 264-283.

Seibert, S. L., Holt, T., Reckhardt, A., Ahrens, J., Beck, M., Pollmann, T., ... & Massmann, G. (2018). Hydrochemical evolution of a freshwater lens below a barrier island (Spiekeroog, Germany): The role of carbonate mineral reactions, cation exchange and redox processes. Applied Geochemistry, 92, 196-208.

Shaposhnikova, A. 2019.Syntaxonomy of the vegetation of National Nature Park Dzharylhatskyi. Classes Cakiletea maritimae аnd Ammophiletea. Thaiszia Journal of Botany 29, 111-132.

Šilc, U., D. Stešević, A. Rozman, D. Caković, and F. Küzmič. 2019. Alien Species and the Impact on Sand Dunes Along the NE Adriatic Coast. Pages 113-143 Impacts of Invasive Species on Coastal Environments. Springer.

Snabl, M., Guidori, U., Gianchino, C., Iotti, M., & Zambonelli, A. 2019. Morels on the sand dunes of the Emilia-Romagna coast (Northwestern Adriatic Sea, Italy). Italian Journal of Mycology, 48(1), 16-25.

Sorce, C., Bottega, S., & Spanò, C. 2019. Seasonal and microclimatic influences on the ecophysiology of Mediterranean coastal dune plants. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 219, 317-327.

Sperandii, M. G., M. Bazzichetto, A. T. R. Acosta, V. Barták, and M. Malavasi. 2019. Multiple drivers of plant diversity in coastal dunes: A Mediterranean experience. Science of The Total Environment 652:1435-1444.

Sperandii, M. G., M. Bazzichetto, F. Gatti, and A. T. R. Acosta. 2019. Back into the past: Resurveying random plots to track community changes in Italian coastal dunes. Ecological Indicators 96:572-578.

Stešević, D, Filip Küzmič, F, Milanović, D, Stanišić-Vujačić,M and U. Šilc. 2019. Coastal sand dune vegetation of Velika plaža (Montenegro). Acta Bot. Croat. 79 (1), 43–54.

Torca, M., Campos, J. A., & Herrera, M. 2019. Changes in plant diversity patterns along dune zonation in south Atlantic European coasts. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 218, 39-47.

Valcheva, M., Sopotlieva, D., Meshinev, T., & Apostolova, I. 2019. Is penetration of non-psammophytes an underestimated threat to sand dunes?-a case study from western Pontic coast. Journal of Coastal Conservation, 23(2), 271-281.

Vallejo, I., & Ojeda, J. 2019. The Active Dune System of Doñana National Park. In The Spanish Coastal Systems (pp. 681-698). Springer, Cham.



Various coastal conferences you will find here:[nbs

17.-19.09.2020:CoastGIS, Raseborg/Finland. Symposium. Further info: postponed

16.-20.11.2020: Coastal Ecology Workshop, Friedrichstadt, Germany.
Contact: svenja.reents(at)




EU Nature - Communicationplatform Information and meetings mainly dealing particularly with Natura2000


EUCC Atlantik activities along the atlantic region


Center for Coastal and Marine Studies  (CCMS) coastal aspects along the Black Sea


Grains de Sable

Coastline observatories network in France

The Observatory of the coast with interactive maps allow to visualize the elements collected by all participating structures.

Observatory of the Aquitaine coast

Observatory of the north of France

Observatory of Pays de la Loire


UK Sand Dune and Shingle Network


Waddenacademie, NL


Dunes in Poland


SANDLIFE, LIFE-Project dealing with sand habitats in Sweden


ARCOSLIFE, LIFE-Projekt in Spain


TMAP Beaches and Dune


Mediterranean Coastal Foundation


International Geographical Union Commission on Coastal Systems



Maike Isermann, mail: dunes-d (at)