Coastal areas provide a unique environment and habitat. There is a need for conservation and this leads to conflict with other land uses.
Case study – Studland Bay
Studland Bay is a bay in Dorset which is in the southwest of England. It’s a sheltered bay so mostly doesn’t feel the effect of the highly erosive waves. However, the southern end of the bay is being eroded. There are sandy beaches in the bay which attract many tourists. Behind the beach are sand dunes and heathland. The heathland is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and a nature reserve.
Studland Bay provides a habitat for many species:
- Plants – marram grass and lyme grass on the sand dunes, heather on the heathland
- Birds – Dartford warblers, shelducks, grebes
- Fish – seahorses (Studland is the only place in Britain where the spiny seahorse breeds)
- Reptiles – adders, grass snakes, sand lizards, slow worms
Some of which have specially adapted to the environment.
Due to the range of human activities in Studland Bay, there are conflicts between land use and the need for conservation.
- Many people visit Studland Bay and walk across the sand dunes which causes lots of erosion. The National Trust, who manage the area, so people can access this area without causing too much damage. The strategies they use include boardwalks to allow people to walk across the dunes without damanging the sand beneath. Some sand dunes which have previously been damaged have been fenced off and replanted with marram grass to stablilise them.Information signs have also been put up to educate people about why the sand dune habitat is important and to let them know how to enjoy the environment without damaging it.
- Many bots use Studland Bay and their anchors are destroying the seagrass where seahorses live. Seahorses are protected by law so boat owners are being told to not damage the seagrass.
- The heathland behind the sand dunes is also an important habitat but they can be easily damaged by fires caused by people dropping cigarettes (e.g. in 2008 a fire destroyed six acres of heathland). The National Trust is educating people on the dangers of causing fires and has provided fire beaters to extinguish flames if something does catch fire.
- Facilities for tourists including a shop, cafe and toilets are provided close to the car parks to focus all the visitors in one place.
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