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Sand dune ecosystem

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Introduction

The sand dune ecosystem Succession is the act or process of following in order or sequence. In sand dune area the succession is the processes that the area goes through in order to change from a sand dune area into a climax community, deciduous woodland, which takes place over hundreds of years. As a sand dune forms the conditions are extremely harsh; strong wind, high pH and extremely dry conditions are found. These conditions are less than ideal for plant growth and means that plants need to be specially adapted in order for them to live there. The first nutrients enter the soil from rotting sea weed being washed up by a storm onto the dune. As the sea weed breaks down the first humus, dead organic matter, is placed into the soil. Nutrients are vital to plant growth in any area, they are especially important I sand dune areas due to the various other factors that make the area such a difficult place to grow. There are four different dunes in a sand dune ecosystem that relate to the seres. ...read more.

Middle

The plants have to specially adapted in order for the embryo dune to be its habitat. The topography of this dune shows that it is very small and isolated. It has raised areas of sand with flat bits in between and alternates between sand and vegetation. Fore Dune The fore dunes are the second stage of the succession process and found on the leeward side. The fore dunes have a much more stable environment than the embryo dune meaning that development can happen. The soil is held together much better in the fore dunes because of the amount of roots holding it together, and the increased amount of humus holding the particles. The humus brings added moisture to the dunes which enable plants which have not adapted quite as much to the dry conditions to be able to grow. The humus also allows more nutrients to be held in the soil, for uptake by the plants. These can be replaced much more easily due to the greater amounts of plants, which results in more plants dying to replace the lost nutrients. The soil is deeper. ...read more.

Conclusion

Some traits of xerophytes are; * Thick waxy cuticle. * Stomata closure. * Increased water storage. * Reduction in size of transpiration surface (lower leaf only). * Leaves covered with silvery hairs (creates wind break & light reflective surface). * Deep taproots or wide spreading fibrous roots near the soil surface. * Low growth form (reduces H2O loss from wind). The yellow dunes suffer from problems that can affect plant growth. Rapid deposition of sand, lack of water and lack of nutrients in the soil all attribute to the plants that can survive. Grey dune On the grey dunes the humus level is quite high. With the higher amount of humus the conditions are very friendly to plant growth. The vegetation can grow and develop easily without needed to be adapted very much. There is a lot more shelter and less salt is carried by the wind. With these better conditions the number and range of plants increases covering, in places, the entire sand surface. There is a lot of competition due to the huge amounts of plants and species. The plants do not need to be specialised. The pH is abit acidic. The conditions are not specific to any particular species; however the most commonly found species are mosses, lichens, annuals and perennials. ...read more.

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