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van der Laan, D., van Tongeren, O.F.R., van der Putten, W.H., Veenbaas, G.: Vegetation development in coastal foredunes in relation to methods of establishing marram grass (Ammophila arenaria). Journal of Coastal Conservation, 3: 179-190, 1997.


Abstract. In coastal foredunes marram grass (Ammophila arenaria) is used to stabilize windblown sand. The development of traditionally planted Ammophila into a more natural foredune vegetation may take 5 - 10 yr. For economic reasons, traditional planting may be replaced by alternative techniques such as planting seeds or disk-harrowing rhizome fragments. In this paper, we compare the initial vegetation development of traditionally planted stands with stands established from seeds and from rhizomes. The experiments were conducted on an artificial foredune originating from dredged sea sand. The total experimental area covered more than 100 ha and the vegetation development was studied for 6 yr. The data were analysed by a priori grouping of plant species according to their ecology, as well as by Principal Components Analysis (PCA) and Redundancy Analysis (RA) of the percentage ground cover per plant species. Comparing ecological groups of plants showed that all planting methods delivered equal numbers of plant species that are indicative for coastal dunes. PCA and RA showed that methods based on the use of rhizome material resulted in a higher percentage cover of clonal perennials (Calammophila baltica, Festuca rubra ssp. arenaria, Carex arenaria and Cirsium arvense) than the traditionally planted stands and the stands obtained from seeds. The latter two were characterized by the dominance of annuals, bi-annuals and (mostly nonrhizomatous) perennials. Initially, the rates of succession were highest in the stands obtained from rhizomes. However, after 3 - 6 yr there were no differences between the various stands. During the first four years, the percentage cover by rhizomatous foredune plants developed faster than that of annuals, bi-annuals and perennials. After 6 yr, the latter contributed almost as much to the percentage cover as the clonal species.

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