Dune habitats provide niches for highly specialized plants and animals, including numerous rare and endangered species. Due to human population expansion dunes face destruction through recreation and land development, as well as alteration to prevent encroachment on inhabited areas. Some countries, notably the U.S., New Zealand, Great Britain, Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands have developed extensive programs of dune protection. In the UK, a Biodiversity Action Plan has been developed to assess dunes loss and prevent future dunes destruction.

Extraterrestrial dunes

Dunes can likely be found in any environment where there is a substantial atmosphere, winds, and dust to be blown. Dunes are common on Mars, and have also been observed in the equatorial regions of Titan by the Cassini probe's radar.

Titan's dunes include large expanses with modal lengths of about 20-30 km. The regions are not topographically confined, resembling sand seas. These dunes are interpreted to be longitudinal dunes whose crests are oriented parallel to the dominant wind direction, which generally indicates west-to-east wind flow. The sand is likely composed of hydrocarbon particles, possibly with some water ice mixed in.3


  • Some dunes are used for dune-boarding.

  • Sand dunes in Death Valley National Park. The image shows coppice dunes, which are formed around vegetation.

  • A footbridge provides beach access and protects dunes.

  • A sand dune in Namibia.

  • A dune in Morocco.

  • Sand dunes with scattered vegetation in UAE.

  • Parabolic dune partially stabilized by marram grass.

  • Sand blowing off a crest in the Kelso Dunes of the Mojave Desert, California.

See also

  • Earth science
  • Geography
  • Sand
  • Wind


  1. ↑, Dune. Retrieved September 5, 2008.
  2. ↑ Jenny Hogan, Mystery of world's tallest sand dunes solved, New Scientist. Retrieved September 5, 2008.
  3. ↑ Brad Thomson, Peeking Through the Haze: Titan's Surface, part II, The Planetary Society. Retrieved September 5, 2008.


  • Bagnold, Ralph. 1941. The Physics of Blown Sand and Desert Dunes. London: Methuen & Co.
  • Martínez, M.L., and N.P. Psuty. 2007. Coastal Dunes: Ecology and Conservation. Berlin: Springer. ISBN 3540740015.
  • Packham, J.R., and A.J. Willis. 1997. Ecology of Dunes, Salt Marsh and Shingle. London: Chapman & Hall. ISBN 0412579804.

External links

All links retrieved October 6, 2017.