Duinherstel Dutch Dune Revival

English summary

Dutch Dune Revival

Realisation of Natura 2000 targets for calcareous white, grey dunes and dune slacks in three Dutch dune sites.

Life project : LIFE09 NAT/NL/000418


The project area consists of three well-known Dutch dune complexes, all part of the Natura 2000 network: Voornes Duin, Duinen Goeree & Kwade Hoek and Kennemerland-Zuid. Duinen Goeree & Kwade Hoek is the youngest area, situated in the 

delta in the southwest of the country. As well as calcareous and decalcified dry dunes and older dune slacks, salt marshes, beach plains and new dunes, including slacks continue to develop here. It is the only coastal area in this part of the Netherlands where natural processes are still active on a large scale.

The Dutch dunes are very important for Europes environment: they form an almost continuous broad area along the coast in which many habitats are well developed. These include grey dunes (a priority habitat), white dunes, humid dune slacks and dune forest, and salt marches. Humid dune slacks are of great importance due to the presence of many rare plant species, such as fen orchid (Liparis loeselii). 

Most of these habitats are threatened. The main cause is the reduced dynamics of the dunes and, as a consequence, the increased speed of succession. Blowing dunes, the plantation of forests, a decline in rabbit numbers and atmospheric deposition of nitrogen are the most important factors in explaining this rapid succession. The fast expansion of exotic shrubs and trees such as black cherry (Prunus serotina) and white poplar (Populus alba) is another, more recent factor.


The main aim of this project is to enlarge and restore habitats and increase the presence of rare and characteristic species. Specific objectives include:

  • Recovering and enlarging the area of grey dunes, white dunes and humid dune slacks at Voornes Duin;
  • Recovering and enlarging the area of grey dunes and white dunes at Duinen Goeree & Kwade Hoek;
  • Recovering and enlarging the area of grey dunes, white dunes, dune forest and dunes with Hippophaë rhamnoides and humid dune slacks at Kennemerland-Zuid.

In the three dune areas the objective is the same: to set back the succession to an earlier stage in order to create good conditions for the development of species rich grey dunes and white dunes, as well as humid dune slacks. The last decade has seen the development of scrub, forest and grassy vegetation with a thick layer of litter and only a few plant species. Removal of this vegetation is the most prominent part of the project. In areas where the narrow-mouthed whorl snail (Vertigo angustior) occurs, activities will be carried out in a way that the populations of this species will not be endangered.

Depending on the speed of the succession after removal of the vegetation, the areas will be mown and /or grazed to secure permanent recovery of the relevant habitats. In Kennemerland-Zuid the sand will be removed at five locations near to the sea in order to obtain active blowing dunes, which create good conditions for the development of new humid dune slacks.

Expected results

At Voornes Duin:

  • The improvement of more than 60 ha of grey dunes and an increase in the area of grey dunes;
  • An increase in the area of humid dune slacks by more than 15 ha and the creation of a small area of white dunes;
  • An improvement in quality of both habitats.

At Duinen Goeree & Kwade Hoek:

The restoration of more than 30 ha of grey dunes as well as a small area of white dunes.

At Kennemerland-Zuid:

  • The development of around 25 ha of grey dunes as well as an improvement in the quality of the existing grey dunes;
  • The restoration of 7 ha of new humid dune slacks and 15 ha of white dunes;
  • The removal of exotic shrubs in order to enlarge the quality of 640 ha of dune forest, grey dunes and dunes with Hippophaë rhamnoides;
  • The preparation of inventories before the start of these activities in order to ensure that species are not endangered.
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