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Maelfait, J.-P., Desender, K., Baert, L.. Colonisation and source-sink dynamics in spiders and ground beetles after dry dune habitat restoration along the Belgian coast. In: Isermann, M., Kiehl, K. (eds.). Restoration of Coastal Ecosystems. Coastline Reports (7), pp. 41-52. EUCC - The Coastal Union, Leiden, 2007.


We monitored the spider and ground beetle assemblages of old dune and newly created dune-like habitats in the Ijzer estuary by means of four years of continuous pitfall sampling (2001-2004). The new sites built with dune sand were rapidly colonised by good dispersing species. These populations thrived so well during the first years after colonisation that they acted as sources, for which the old dune habitats were the sinks. That temporal collateral effect of nature restoration did not seem to cause persisting damage in the old dune habitats once the source populations had disappeared. Because general stochastic environmental fluctuations, like cold winters, seem to cause important year-to-year variation in population size of a number of species, it is advisable to sample developing and restoring habitats at the same time as their targets. The newly created habitats appeared to offer opportunities to enlarge the population size of several species of dune living ground beetles and, to a lesser degree, spiders. A multitude of more specialised dune species could not (as yet?) install viable new populations. A continuing sampling effort will be required to monitor the development, so that additional nature restoration or management measures can be taken when bio-indicated to be needed.

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