Coastal dunes provide important ecosystem services such as water supply, recreation, biodiversity and coastal flood defence. Climate change and other anthropogenic impacts could lead to a reduction in these benefits by altering the development of topography and habitats. Scenarios of climate change not only predict rising sea-levels, but also changes to the water cycle such as higher drought frequencies. These changes in growing conditions could affect dune building species that play an important role for trapping aeolian sediments and stabilizing dunes. Past studies have focused on the feedback between vegetation and sediment interactions, but neglected the response to changes in growing conditions, which prevents making predictions of beach-dune development under a changing climate.
This research aims to assess how changes in growing conditions affect vegetation and sediment-fluxes at the beach-dune interface and explore the impact of future climate change scenarios on dune building and habitat development.