Sand Dunes

European Dune Network

 Aims of the European Dune Network

Formal support for the establishment of the European Dune Network was given by the Coastal & Marine Union (EUCC) Council at its meeting of 13th April 2010. The agreed aims are:

  • to promote the sustainable use and management of coastal dunes
  • to support  policies and actions that conserve the intrinsic natural values of coastal dunes
  • to develop a vibrant European network of communities concerned with coastal dune use and management
  • to support the advancement of knowledge and understanding of coastal dunes, and
  • to provide an international platform dedicated to coastal dunes

These over-arching aims reflect the concern that coastal dunes remain threatened habitats across Europe.


Objectives of the European Dune Network

The operational objectives of the European Dune Network are what we hope to achieve through networking and cooperation. The objectives are to:

  • encourage and support the international exchange of knowledge and understanding between those concerned with coastal dunes
  • encourage and facilitate communication that develops international relationships, understanding and cooperation between those concerned with coastal dunes
  • secure resources that service and develop the aims of the European Dune Network
  • support initiatives which are aligned to the aims of the European Dune Network
  • support and promote the development and operation of national and regional dune networks.



The first European Dune Symposium held in Leiden in 1987 led to the establishment of the European Union for Dune Conservation and Coastal Management (EUDC). The EUDC was launched at a time when the traditional policies of dune stabilisation and coastal protection were giving way to new approaches led by ecology and geomorphology.

The meeting in Leiden was followed by international dune conferences in Seville (1989) and Galway (1991). These events developed a network of practitioners and the proceedings of the conferences set out the principles of a dynamic approach to the dune management. Although from 1993 onwards the EUDC broadened its interest to become The Coastal & Marine Union-EUCC, there remained an active informal European Dune Network.

From the early 1990s the exchange of knowledge was largely supported through the networking activity of EU LIFE projects in France, the UK, Belgium and Denmark. These projects held workshops and conferences and published proceedings and good practice guides.

The EU LIFE programme continues to support dune project throughout Europe, from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean. In recent years there has been a particularly strong representation of projects from the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark.

The current initiative by Liverpool Hope University was first discussed at the Littoral 2004 conference in Scotland and further developed at a workshop at the Dunes and Estuaries 2005 conference in Koksidje, Belgium.


Sources of information

The main source of information on the distribution, status and management of European dunes is the Sand Dune Inventory of Europe, first published in 1991, was updated in 2008 by Pat Doody. The revised inventory describes the status of coastal dunes in most European countries.

The inventory is partly published on the Coastal Wiki

See in particular: .



Proceedings of the first European dune symposium

Meulen, F. van der, P.D. Jungerius and J. Visser (Eds). 1989. Perspectives in coastal dune management: towards a dynamic approach. SPB Academic Publishing, The Hague.

Houston J.A., S.E. Edmondson, and P.J. Rooney (Eds). 2001. Coastal dune management: shared experience of European conservation practice, Liverpool University Press. ISBN 0853238545

458 pages and 47 papers.

Although not available as a free download the proceedings are still available through on-line natural history and scientific bookstores for about £35.

Proceedings Dunes and Estuaries 2005: International Conference on nature restoration practices in European coastal habitats, Koksijde, Belgium 19-23 September 2005

Herrier, J.-L.; Mees, J.; Salman, A.; Seys, J.; Van Nieuwenhuyse, H.; Dobbelaere, I. (Ed.) (2005). Proceedings 'Dunes and Estuaries 2005': International Conference on nature restoration practices in European coastal habitats, Koksijde, Belgium 19-23 September 2005. VLIZ Special Publication, 19. Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ): Oostende. XIV, 685 pp. ISSN 1377-0950, 

All papers are available free on line at


Support for activities and events

The European Dune Network helps to advertise workshops, conferences and fieldtrips through its broad membership base of over 500 practitioners. As well as encouraging international participation in UK events the network at Liverpool Hope University also participates at events across Europe.

The European Dune Network, working as part of The Coastal & Marine Union (EUCC), can add an extra dimension to networking activity delivered through EU projects. The network is a tool for dissemination of project results and for establishing partnerships.

The European Dune Network aims to support an average of two field-based events each year through its membership. These would address topical issues and could be linked to actions in LIFE projects or workshops organised by national or regional dune networks.

If you are planning an event which could be supported by the European Dune Network please contact


National and regional dune networks

There are several active coastal dune networks across Europe that can share information through a European platform. Some networks are established as EUCC national branches, such as in France, some have emerged from LIFE projects (as in Italy) and others may be led by universities, practitioners or sectors. The European Dune Network aims to share information between these national networks.

A priority for funding for the European network will be to attract resources to develop the capacity of national and regional networks.


Contact Us

The Sand Dune and Shingle Network, based in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science, Liverpool Hope University, has offered to act as the contact point for the European Dune Network.

The UK network was established in 2006 by Paul Rooney and John Houston both of whom have considerable experience of practical conservation management, management planning and European networking. Please register your interest by contacting