Spinifex: stabilisation and dune builder

Thousands of spinifex, and other native ground cover species, planted in frontal dunes after years of heavy beach erosion.

Spinifex: stabilisation and dune builder

Article by Ashley Goodman, community nature conservation officer, Sunshine Coast Council

After years of heavy beach erosion caused from several storm surges, a national tree day event was held at Marcoola in 2014. Hundreds of volunteers planted thousands of Spinifex sericeus and other native ground cover species along the frontal dune.

Spinifex plays an important role in dune building. As the wind blows the sand from a process called saltation, the spinifex captures the sand and helps the dune to form. Other ground covers such as beach bean help continue the stabilisation process. Their deep root systems also assist in stabilising the dunes and help the plants survive.

Since the national tree day planting in 2014 the dune has built a further 20 metres out to the shoreline. The image below of volunteers following the recent cyclone Oma event show how deep the roots go and how important it is to speed up the process by doing dune building plantings. Thanks to all the many volunteers who continue to help speed this process up.

If you would like to help with restoring dunes, there are BushCare groups across the coast you can get involved with. For more information visit the BushCare Sunshine Coast webpage.