Coastal vegetation loss within 1km of beach

The coastal zone, frequently referred to as within 1 km of the beach, is sort after for development as many of us want to live close to the beach. 60% of native vegetation in this zone has disappeared since European settlement (DPIRD, 2018). Coastal vegetation is important for dune stability, protecting us from storm-surges, flooding and erosion. This vegetation is also important for species that rely on it for habitat, foraging and wildlife corridors.

Vegetation on the frontal dune is particularly important as plants act as a windbreak, trapping the deposited sand and stabilising the dune system. The vegetation can be affected by natural causes such as storms, cyclones, fire, or by human-related impacts such as clearing, grazing, vehicles or excessive foot traffic. If the vegetation cover is damaged, strong winds can sometimes cause ‘blowouts’ or gaps in the dune ridge. Unless repaired, these can increase in size, and movement of the whole dune system can migrate inland covering everything in its path. Coastal rehabilitation is often necessary in these circumstances to restabilise the moving sand.

Calls to action:

  • Stick to the tracks and only drive in designated legal 4wd areas.
  • Plant native species and create habitat in urban gardens to supplement to loss of native vegetation
  • Prevent further loss of native vegetation where possible.
  • Protect existing coastal vegetation from ongoing threats such as invasive weeds, illegal 4-wheel driving, heavy foot-traffic and sand blow-outs.

Case Studies

Data Source

  • Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) Native Vegetation Extent Data (updated August 2017).  Available at: www.data.gov.au [accessed March 2018].