Marcomini, S.; López, R.; Picca, P.; Madanes, N., and Bertolín, L., 2017. Natural coastal dune-field landforms, plant communities, and human intervention along Buenos Aires northern aeolian barrier.
The dune field that stretches NE of Buenos Aires coast has been altered by urbanization since the early 20th century, with a maximum urban growth reached in 1970 that generated important changes in natural dune landforms and vegetation cover. The introduction of some exotic shrub and tree species has increased dune-field stabilization and changed wind transport rates on it and toward the beach. This lack of aeolian sediment supply to the beach caused subsaturation in marine littoral drift currents, increasing beach erosion along several resorts located along the northern Buenos Aires coast. Additionally, some native herbaceous species, at some time dominant in the past in dune communities, have been replaced by these foreign woody plants, altering consequently the structure and composition of the original plant communities and, indirectly, dune growth, activity, and mobility. The purpose of this paper is to study the original geomorphology and some basic attributes of the natural plant communities that characterize the coastal dune field to establish the relationship between the original aeolian dynamics and man-induced changes in the evolution of the coastal system. This study documents dune morphology and salient aspects of the associated vegetation (floristic composition, abundance of each species) over an original dune field and discusses the impacts of afforestations accompanying dune-field real-state developments. In the future, coastal management should regulate the expansion of forested areas in the dune barriers and preserve natural dune fields as potential reserves of sand for beach equilibrium.