Rehabilitating a Dune

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When deciding which areas are in need of revegetation, look for areas that are eroding due to lack of vegetation or areas that have been opened up due to weed removal, fire or tree death. Revegetation and brush matting are the preferred methods of dune stabilisation, as it encourages natural processes to reform the dune. Vegetation species change as you move from the seaward side of the dune to the swale at the back of the dune due to the changing conditions. In order to achieve the best result from your revegetation work you should try to replicate the natural vegetation structure, as certain trees are more tolerant to the harsh foredune and dune crest condition and have adaptations that help to stabilise the sand dune. These revegetation guidelines have been broken up according to the dune parts.


In circumstances where the foredune is being eroded either by wind or waves, you can help stabilise the dune and encourage sand build up by planting:

These species are the first to colonise a dunes under normal circumstances. The vertical parts of these plants capture windblown sand leading to build up of the dune. They also perform important role by stabilising the dunes with their sprawling runners and woody roots. Some trees may survive in the foredune; however the survival rate of trees will not be as high as those planted on the dune crest.

Dune Crest

The conditions on the dune crest are slightly less harsh than the foredune which means a larger variety of plants can survive here. These plants act as a wind break and protect the vegetation behind them from salt and wind, as well as binding and stabilising the dune. Some suggested species for revegetation of the dune crest include:

Although she-oaks and wattles are important for converting nitrogen in the sand and air, and bind the sand together well, they can be sensitive to the impacts of severe storms, so they should be planted amongst other plant species.

Back Dune

The back dune, having more protection than the dune crest can support even more species. Some suggested species for revegetation of the back dune include:


Most of the species in the back dune area can be found in the swale areas, however if the area is wet for long periods of time, most plants will not survive. Paperbarks are the best trees to plant in wet areas, as they have a high tolerance to excess water. Some native grasses may also survive in these areas.

Information on suitable locations for other coastal plants can be found in Coastal Plants of the Burdekin Dry Tropics.

Brush matting

When planting seedlings or seeding unstable dunes that area likely to continue being windblown after planting, it can be advantageous to apply a layer of brush matting to protect the seedlings. Brush matting can simply be branches obtained from healthy trees away from the foreshore (permit may be required), or debris already on the ground. Care should be taken to ensure any brush bought into the area is free of weed seed. The brush is laid down on the sand, butt first, so that it offers less surface area for the wind to pick it up and blow it away. The layer of brush protects the seedlings from the wind as well as trapping sand and promoting dune build-up.

Wholesale nurseries within the Dry Tropics region

Related information

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