Decadal monitoring of Traganum moquinii's role on foredune morphology of an human impacted arid dunefield

Leví García-Romero, Antonio I. Hernández-Cordero, Patrick A. Hesp, Luis Hernández-Calvento, Ángelo Santana del Pino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Foredunes in arid zones have been little studied, being significantly different than tropical and temperate foredunes. In the case of the foredune of the arid Canary Islands' dune systems, Traganum moquinii is the predominant plant species, forms nebkhas and nebkhas fields, and acts as a structuring element in the dune field. In this work, the eco-anthropogenic evolution of the foredune surface, and the morphology and distribution of Traganum moquinii species in the Maspalomas dunefield (Gran Canaria, Canary Islands) are analysed, to understand the role that this plant species plays on the foredune's geomorphology and on the biogeomorphological processes altered by human actions. Eight variables were measured in 10 plots at five different times, from the 1960's to the present, through historical aerial photographs and orthophotos, integrated in a GIS. Significant decadal changes in the number and distribution/morphology of Traganum moquinii plants and also in the morphology of the foredune are observed, although not in a spatially homogeneous manner, as three different foredune behaviors are observed. The number of nebkhas/number of T. moquinii plants, has decreased between 1961 and 2012. The largest changes occurred in the north and south of the study area, and the lowest numbers of nebkhas occur where tourist activities and services are intense. In addition, the distance between Traganum moquinii individuals and variables measured in the foredune front (e.g. the diameter of the individuals) have significant relationships. Also, the greater the distance between plant individuals in the foredune front, the greater is the distance of T. moquinii individual plants in the rest of the plot. The alongshore variations in foredune development are due to natural processes (e.g. natural decline or growth of plants), and human impacts (e.g. carpark and kiosk construction, heavy tourist use). This research could be useful for the management of foredunes in arid regions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number143802
Number of pages13
JournalScience of The Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • Arid dune systems
  • Beach-dune management
  • Biogeomorphology
  • Foredune
  • Nebkha
  • Traganum moquinii


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