2.5 Adjustments to Natural Stress

There are a number of natural stress events that affect Coastal Sand Dunes. In particularstorm damage and bush fires in the tertiary vegetation zone are common.

Sand Dune Ecosystems have evolved to adjust to these stress events.

a) Storm Damage

The heavy rain, strong winds and powerful waves associated with storms can cause major structural damage to the dune system. Blowouts and Washoversare among the most spectacular and destructive forms of natural stress on Coastal Sand Dunes.


  • Blowouts are breaches in the dunes caused by strong wind associated with storms that "blow" sand into the secondary and tertiary vegetation zones and smother the dune vegetation.
  • Overtime, dunes adjust to this natural stress through vegetation succession
  • Stockton has two large blowouts:
  • Unfortunately, through human impacts such as unlawful 4wd use the vegetation that starts to grow in the resilience phase is trampled and the blowouts are blowing further inland.
  • Washovers

    b) Bush Fires