Vegetation establishment on the southern Israeli coastal sand dunes between the years 1965 and 1999 Academic Article uri icon


  • Since 1960, the Israeli coastal dunes have undergone a stabilization process that is manifested in the increase of vegetation cover and in a decrease in the abundance of sand-living flora and fauna species. The objective of the study was to quantify, using remote sensing and GIS, the rate and extent of vegetation expansion and their resultant temporal changes on Israel’s southern coastal dunes between the years 1965 and 1999. The results indicate that during the entire study period, the vegetation-covered area grew by 82% at an annual average growth rate of 1.75%. Concurrently, the bare shifting dune area decreased by 37% at an annual average growth rate of 1.34%. The conspicuous trend over the period studied, despite regressive processes, is a transition from bare shifting dunes to stabilized, vegetation-covered dunes. The extrapolation of the results, assuming continuation of processes and no destruction effects, indicates that with the decrease in the bare shifting dunes, the ratio of bare shifting dunes and sparse vegetation coverage landscape will equalize by between 2007 and 2010. According to this extrapolation, between 2012 and 2015, no bare shifting dune landscape will remain, and the study area will be covered with sparse- and dense-level vegetation cover. Beginning in 2035, the entire study area will be covered in vegetation whose density will be between 60 and 100%. Meso-climate and land use changes are among the factors that might explain this phenomenon.

publication date

  • January 1, 2004