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Sand Dunes in Europe

Figure 3: Yellow dune, with Marram Grass and Sand Couch, Wales, UK. Copyright J Pat Doody
This article provides an introduction to the coastal sand dune habitat, focusing on the biodiversity of coastal sand dunes in Europe. It also includes links to more detailed reports on individual countries prepared as part of a revised 'Sand Dune Inventory of Europe' (Doody ed. 1991)


Coastal sand dunes develop on coastlines with an adequate supply of material within the size range 0.2-2.0mms. The critical factor is the availability of a sufficiently large beach, which dries out at low tide and where sand grains are blown onto the land by the action of the wind.Sand dunes occur in many parts of the World, along coasts and in deserts. In most locations in the temperate regions of the world, vegetation plays an important role in the growth of the typical dune landscape, which is so familiar to anyone visiting the 'seaside', by facilitating the accumulation of sediment. In Europe sand dunes border long stretches of the coastline. The wind blows the sediment inland to form accumulations a few centimetres to 40m or more thick...