An eco-spatial index for evaluating stabilization state of sand dunes

Yehonathan Rubinstein, Elli Groner, Hezi Yizhaq, Tal Svoray, Pua Bar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Geomorphologies tend to categorize dunes into three major states (mobile, semi-stabilized and stabilized) based on their shape and mobility rate. However, the ecologists try to find bio-indicators that can characterize the mobility rate and the ecological features of the various dune states. Unfortunately, there are limited numbers of significant bio-indicators, if any. The aim of our study was to develop a Dune Assemblage Index (. DAI) in order to indicate the affinity of annual plants and arthropods assemblages to dune mobility. The DAI values range between 0 for stabilized dunes and 1 for bare and active dunes. The index was calculated for 10 coastal dunes in Nizzanim nature reserve, located at the southern part of the Israeli Mediterranean coast, from data that were collected in the years 2006 and 2007. Generally, the lower the vegetation cover is, the higher are DAI values for both taxon groups. Generalist species tend to mask the differences between active and stabilized dunes whereas psammophiles (sand-dwelling species) tend to increase the DAI values. Additionally, the DAI may differ among dunes with the same perennial coverage due to differences in the spatial plant distribution patterns. Likewise, the DAI depends also on the distance of the dunes from rural areas, which encourage invasion of generalist species, thus decreases the DAI value. This new defined spatial index that relies on plant and animal assemblages, rather than on individual bio-indicators, can be adapted to any taxon and dune ecosystems. The use of several taxons may support better understanding of the ecosystem state of the dune.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-87
Number of pages13
JournalAeolian Research
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2013


  • Annual plants
  • Arthropodes
  • DAI (Dune Assemblage Index)
  • Dune stabilization state
  • Organism assemblages
  • Psammophile


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