Contemporary research in coastal dunes and aeolian processes

Eugene J. Farrell*, Irene Delgado Fernandez, Thomas Smyth, Bailiang Li, Christy Swann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

3 Citations (Scopus)


Coastal dunes are found along the sandy coasts of oceans, seas, and large lakes all around the world. They are dynamic landforms that evolve along complex morphological and biological continua in response to a range on controls linked to climate, sea level, sediment movement, vegetation cover, and land use. By collating research across the full spectrum of processes shaping different types and sizes of dunes and smaller aeolian bedforms, special issues can aid researchers to identify new research directions and methods emerging from the discipline. This editorial summarizes the 25 contributions to the special issue Coastal dunes: links between aeolian processes and landform dynamics. We grouped the contributions into four broad themes: (1) long-term dune evolution, (2) short-term aeolian transport, (3) research methods, and (4) coastal dune management. Contributions to the special issue demonstrate that research interest in coastal dunes, and particularly the impacts of human interventions on dunes, continues to grow. It also shows how aeolian research on coastal dunes covers a range of temporal and spatial scales, from ripple dynamics and instantaneous airflow-transport processes to dune field evolution with rising sea levels and large-scale dune stage shifts. We highlight potential avenues for future research including vegetation roughness characteristics and their effect on wind flow and sediment transport, the challenges of upscaling short- and small-scale results to larger and longer spatiotemporal scales, and the study of both natural and managed dune landscapes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-116
Number of pages9
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • aeolian processes
  • coastal dunes
  • dune evolution
  • dune management
  • wind blown sand


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