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Enhancing geomorphic and biologic functions and values on backshores and dunes of developed shores: a review of opportunities and constraints



This article identifies ways to overcome impediments to restoring natural features on developed shores where human-use functions are the dominant driving forces. Suggestions are made for (1) incorporating natural features and natural dynamism into beach nourishment projects; (2) addressing constraints in size and space; (3) reducing the impact of human actions and elements in the landscape; (4) integrating endangered species programmes; (5) overcoming impediments to implementing restoration projects; (6) conducting post-construction evaluations and actions; (7) obtaining public support; and (8) addressing regulatory issues. Beach nourishment projects can better mimic natural landforms, while protecting infrastructure and habitat, creating space for dunes, and providing sediment for dune building. Dunes can have more value as habitat if sub-environments representative of natural gradients are accommodated. Greater human effort will be required to maintain both dynamic and stable zones for habitat, and these zones may be restricted to smaller scales. Controls can be placed on human actions, such as raking the beach, driving on the beach, walking through the dune, emplacing more structures than necessary and introducing exotic vegetation for landscaping. Regulatory restrictions that now prevent environmentally friendly actions can be eased, and adaptive management and education programmes can be implemented.


Corresponding author

*Correspondence: Professor Karl F. Nordstrom Tel: +1 732 932 6555 ext. 502 Fax: +1 732 932 8578 e-mail:


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