Extensive Spanish dune areas were totally altered and destroyed in the course of massive tourist urbanization and road construction projects during the 1960's–1970's. Littoral drift interruption by harbour and marinas as well as sand mining for construction and agriculture purposes also contributed to accelerated dune erosion. Furthermore, human trampling, refuse dumping, excessive dune recreational pressure, use of all-terrain vehicles and cropping, are amongst the main causes contributing and accelerating physical and ecological degradation of most Spanish dune systems.
Before 1988, Spanish coastal dunes were totally unprotected. The 1988 Spanish Shore Act (“Ley de Costas”) arose with the aim of regulating the coastal activities and preventing littoral destruction. The Spanish Shore Act protects all coastal dunes precludes their destruction by sand mining and any other form of development, . However, this law still does not prevent some of the above negative activities occuring. Furthermore, the complexity of existing boundaries of the different authorities involved in coastal zone management policy makes integrated dune management a difficult task.
The National Spanish Coastal Authority, Ministry of Environment, have been aware of this problem and undertook a strong policy on dune restoration which has been incremented yearly. In this paper the main dune problems found along the Spanish coastline are outlined, paying particular attention to the analysis of certain case studies and an overview of the different dune restoration techniques used is given. Seven representative examples in which the authors were involved are discussed.