Realisation of Natura 2000 targets for calcareous white, grey dunes and dune slacks at three Dutch dune sites
The project area consists of large parts of three well-known Dutch dune complexes, all part of the Natura 2000 network: Voornes Duin, Duinen Goeree & Kwade Hoek and Kennemerland-Zuid.
The Dutch dunes are very important to Europe's environment: they form an almost continuous broad swath along the coast in which there are many well-developed habitats. These include grey dunes (H2130*, a priority habitat), white dunes (H2120), humid dune slacks (H2190) and dune forest (H2180). Humid dune slacks are of great importance due to the presence of many rare plant species such as the fen orchid (Liparis loeselii). The same applies to grey dunes.
Most of these habitats are threatened. The main cause is the reduced dynamics of the dunes and, as a consequence, the increased speed of succession. Fixation of blowing dunes, planting of forests, a decline in the numbers of rabbits and atmospheric deposition of nitrogen are the most important factors in explaining this rapid succession. The fast expansion of exotic shrubs and trees such as black cherry (Prunus serotina) is another, more recent factor.
Life project : LIFE09 NAT/NL/000418
The main objective of this LIFE project is to enlarge and restore the habitats grey dunes, white dunes, humid dune slacks and dune forest and to increase the presence of rare and characteristic species associated with these habitats.
The overall objective in the three dune areas is the same: to set back the succession to an earlier stage in order to create good conditions for the development of species-rich habitats. The last decade has seen the development of scrub, forest and grassy vegetation with a thick layer of litter and only a few plant species. Removal of this vegetation (including exotic invasive species) is the most prominent part of the project. In Kennemerland-Zuid sand will be removed from fixated parabolic dunes and five trenches at locations near the sea will be made in order to create active, blowing, dynamic dunes. This will also create good conditions for the development of new humid dune slacks. Depending on the speed of the succession after removal of the vegetation, aftercare will take place by e.g. mowing and grazing to secure the permanent recovery of the relevant habitats.