Dunes
Problem
Contact

Greg Jenks

greg@igci.org.nz

Phone:

+64 7 834 2999

+ 64 22 156 4335

Product Overview

Coastal erosion is exacerbated by sea level rise, increased storminess and human activities along the coast. Through numerous applications of soft technology a cost effective solution has been applied to numerous cases across New Zealand. Dune restoration and other coastal ecosystem solutions are being applied through the expert application of knowledge held by Greg Jenks and the team at the International Global Change Institute. The underlying problem statement, approach and methods have been documented over more than a decade of experience. This website has been specifically designed to assist members of the adaptation atlas community and others to understand the principles behind ecological restoration in the coastal zone and to provide access to the team of active solution implementers.

For additional details and project identification and implementation you are encouraged to contact Greg Jenks at greg@igci.org.nz or call us on +64 7 834 2999 or + 64 22 156 4335.

Problem Statement

Many contemporary global coastal dune margins are now relict (or fossil) landscapes. Their once efficient evolutionary processes, governed by locally indigenous and evolutionary-advanced C4 halophyte foredune plants, have been terminated by incremental but destructive anthropogenic degradation. These impacts have also seriously curtailed the effective sand-trapping and storm-buffering abilities of these affected coastal margins.

This is a relatively recent problem from geological and evolutionary perspectives, but in human-history terms is both prolonged and poorly comprehended. Historic human coastal-settlement plus its closely related agricultural influences over immense areas of dune lands continues to threaten many shoreline margins today. Recent and increasing impacts include an untenable spiral in coastal populations, habitually established on these fragile lands without adequate setbacks or sustainable management of the vital coastal buffers. The consequential proliferation of detrimental and extraneous seawalls and revetments in vain attempts to ‘solve’ those impacts in reality only exacerbate those human-induced problems. More recent are new concerns over the scale and compounding effects of rising seas from climate change on these decreasingly slim slivers from disaster – our relict coastal dunes. Historic narratives reveal a plethora of these ‘normalised’ but disastrous activities with equally poorly-recognised impacts. Hence these once protective natural landscapes now have their oceanic defence role reduced by various anthropogenic actions to become non-functional cultural landscapes.

Dune erosion, often erroneously labelled as ‘natural’, is simply the expected consequence of increasing storm events and their arguably increased severity due to climate change: for example – Superstorm Sandy in USA and Super Typhoon Haiyan (the Philippines Nov. 2013) and the increasing effects of frequent ex-tropical cyclonic storms in New Zealand and Australia.

Most global dunes, barely persisting today but perversely increasingly expected to buffer the frequent storms and new climate change impacts are, by comparison, merely mounds of loose fragments of sand, diffidently bound (if at all) by a motley hodgepodge of mediocre, naturalised and poor-performing weed species frequently modified by the grazing of introduced domestic plus feral mammals, and these tragically ineffectual plant species are also frequently destroyed by simple inundation with sea water (e.g. marram, lupin, pampas grass, kikuyu, Indian doab etc.). Reality suggests that there should be no shock or surprise when these impacted mounds (contemporary and even iconic ‘dunes’ as they are presently titled) increasingly suffer from continuing and extensive ‘natural’ erosion.