California foredune plant biogeomorphology

Michele M. Tobias
  • Physical Geography, October 2014, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/02723646.2014.966224

California's coastal plants build sand dunes through teamwork

What is it about?

Plants naturally occurring on California's beaches are responsible for many of the sand dunes in the state. They do this by trapping sand blown inland by the wind. One group of plants starts the process, building up small mounds of sand. These mounds make conditions favored by another group of plants, which begins to grow on the mounds, making the mounds bigger. The cycle continues with different groups of plants taking turns building up the dunes.

Why is it important?

Plants are the superheros of climate change protection. Dune fields on a sandy beach provides protection to inland structures and properties. During large storms, the dunes can erode instead of property and be rebuilt later by the plants. This paper defines which species of plants perform any given role in the dune building process. Knowing this can help us understand how to restore beaches to a more natural state and develop protective dune fields in areas at risk for storm erosion.

The following have contributed to this page: Dr Michele M Tobias