The root of all power

Earlier, I wrote about the strong foundation that is needed to build houses in the dunes. Fighting the erosion

Natures’ prototype of such a strong holdfast is found in the shape of European beachgrass, the true hero of the dunes. This species grows from a network of so-called rhizomes, that as no other keep together the sand and immobilize it.

Dunes at the beach

These rhizomes have amazing skills for live in the dunes, one of them to grow two meters laterally every year, allowing the beach grass to colonise new areas in the highly disturbed environment at the sea shore. The rhizomes even tolerate a certain time submerged in water, so they can break off, drop in the water, come ashore somewhere else and start a new colony.

Bray-Dunes, young dunes

This species  is unbeaten as king of dune fixation, and at this point still the best method we have to limit erosion  in damaged dunes. Beachgrass hence serves a major role in the protection of the lowlands of Western Europe against storms and rising sea levels.

Dune fixation with grass

They are a perfect example of a stress-tolerant species. They can handle (certain levels of) the recurring disturbance caused by sea, wind, sand and rain, they know how to deal with the bad soil conditions in the dunes and they are true pioneers, as they will always be the first plant  species to colonise the bare sand areas.

Dunes at the French Northsea coast

The true powers of plants never cease to amase.

Dunes at the beach

Pictures from Bray-Dunes, Northern France

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1 Response to The root of all power

  1. Such beautiful photos! Great work,human!

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