Plant Diversity as a Suitable Tool for Coastal Dune Vulnerability Assessment


  • M. R. Garcia-Mora
  • J. B. Gallego-Fernandez
  • F. Garcia-Novo


Foredune, management, plant functional type


The investigation reported here is concerned with the use of plant diversity measures for coastal dune monitoring. The original set of recorded plant species on dune systems was broken into 3 functionally homogeneous groups, which allow ecological comparisons among foredune vegetation on a much wider sense than traditional taxonomic approaches.

Plant diversity was measured both, as species richness and as the rate of species number increase with area. Plant diversity values were tested as a dependent variable of a coastal dune vulnerability Index. Increasing coastal dunes vulnerability, caused by natural or human events, lowered the rate of species increase with area within the plant functional type associated to prograding foredunes. Results suggest that plant diversity within this functional type, measured as the slope of the species-area curve, may be used as a management tool for predicting coastal dune vulnerability.