Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Assessment of beach access paths on dune vegetation and implications for dune path planning and management
by Purvis, Kelly Grant, M.S., College of Charleston, 2013, 76; 1545049
Abstract (Summary)

The impact of beach access paths on dune vegetation was investigated on the Isle of Palms, SC. Understanding the impacts of the most direct form of disturbance in this system (beach access paths) is of increasing importance from ecological and economic perspectives. Vegetation characteristics were measured along transects in foredune, mid dune and back dune communities at set distances from beach access paths. Survey was conducted to allow comparisons between path types and materials. Results indicate that beach access paths have a significant impact on beach dune vegetation. Sand paths cause greater reductions in vegetative cover than wooden paths and wooden paths raised at least 0.7m from the sand surface cause the least reduction in vegetation cover. Closely spaced paths reduce the species richness and percent of vegetative cover more than paths spaced at least 40 m apart. Current regulations can be minimally altered to improve dune vegetation and dune stability. Regulations requiring construction of raised wooden paths and disallowing private sand paths would greatly improve dune vegetation continuity. Additionally, voluntary path sharing of neighboring properties could significantly reduce the number of paths per mile of coastline while creating minimal inconvenience for beachfront homeowners and visitors.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Murren, Courtney J.
Commitee: Gramling, Joel M., Keenan, Kevin P., McCandless, Amy T., Pritchard, Seth G.
School: College of Charleston
Department: Environmental Studies
School Location: United States -- South Carolina
Source: MAI 52/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Ecology, Environmental Studies, Land Use Planning
Keywords: Beach access path, Coastal dunes, Coastal planning, Human impact, Isle of Palms, South Carolina, Sustainable planning, Vegetation
Publication Number: 1545049
ISBN: 978-1-303-37694-8
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