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Grunewald, R., Łabuz, T.A.. Plant diversity dynamics on dunes of Swina Gate Barrier: a largely undisturbed accumulative coast. In: Schernewski, G., Löser, N. (eds.). BaltCoast 2004 - Managing the Baltic Sea. Coastline Reports (2), pp. 139-147. EUCC - The Coastal Union, Leiden, 2004.


The southern Baltic sandy coast areas are highly dynamic and under continuous natural and manmade change. Today complex dune habitats are rare and more and more affected by coastal defence measures and recreational activities. Natural or almost natural dune environments exist only in a few places. One of them is the middle part of Swina Gate Barrier on Wolin Island (Poland) where typical plant communities in different stages of vegetational succession and dune development can be found. Five dunal ridges can be observed in the central part of the barrier. The influence of human activities in the vicinity of the towns of Świnoujście and Międzyzdroje can clearly be seen, but the aim of this study was to survey and document undisturbed plant communities and dune dynamics. It could be shown that plants closely reflect the ecological conditions of the dunes creating a number of distinctly different habitats with mosses and lichens playing an important role in the different stages of succession. Sand accumulation is initiated and enhanced by psammophilous plants on the upper beach whereas a complete plant cover on older dunes will, e.g., result in a higher accumulation of humus. Sand accumulation, plant-cover and dune development depend on a continuous sand supply from the see and can be seen as ongoing processes compared to the more abrupt changes caused by heavy storms. Future studies will aim at comparing undisturbed sites with sites disturbed by recreational activities.

PDF: Grunewald_Labuz.pdf (526.399 Bytes)