Dune habitats are exposed shoreline systems of one or more sand ridges derived from wind- and wave-transported material. Dunes are subject to a high degree of erosion and depend on plant growth for their stability.
In Nova Scotia, dunes occur when sand is deposited on the upper levels of the beach by both wind and wave action, and then stabilized by the growth of Marram Grass. This forms a natural ecosystem with low species diversity at first. Over time, the initial grassland ecosystem may change to a heath plant and then a forest system. Destruction of dune grasses in the early stage can allow blowouts and extensive wind and water erosion.
In Nova Scotia, the Northumberland Strait and the Atlantic coast have the best examples. Sable Island provides an outstanding example of sand dunes, on an island made entirely of sand.
This Document Includes:
Distribution in Nova Scotia
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T7.3 Coastal Landforms
T10.2 Successional Trends in Vegetation
T10.5 Seed-bearing Plants
T12.7 The Coast and Resources
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