Coastal sand dunes, located in near shore areas play a role as a bridge between marine and terrestrial ecosystem. This ecotone acts as a buffer and has important ecological values. Recently, there were physical disturbances on sand dunes often caused by human activities rather than natural phenomena. In order to develop, utilize, or conserve coastal sand dunes while reserving its ecological diversity, a proper assessment for the components of a sand dune ecosystem is required. For the maximum accuracy and consistency of the assessment, sand dune vegetation was evaluated. Sand dune vegetation plays an important role in creation, function, and ecological aspects of coastal sand dune. In order to conduct the ecosystem health assessment for coastal sand dunes, current conditions and characteristics of vegetation at 33 areas were evaluated. In this study, 203 species in 51 families of vegetation were appeared. Among them, 47 species in 19 families were sand dune vegetation and 36 species in 14 families were naturalized plant species.
For the coastal sand dune ecosystem health assessment, 6 health assessment indicators were selected using ecological characteristics of sand dune plants. The distribution areas of sand dune vegetation and patch richness at the landscape level, species diversity and biomass at the community ecosystem level, and dune plant species abundance and urbanization index at the population level were applied to these indicators. Each indicator was categorized into 5 groups and scored 5 to 1. Then Strict nature reserve area (I), Conserved (II), Managed resource conserved area (III), Managed resource area (IV), and Resource utilization area (V) were assigned by computing total scores. From the health assessment at the 33 areas, the Strict nature reserve area (I) included Shindu-ri, Goraebul, and Dukcheon sand dunes. The Conserved area (II) included Jungjang-ri, Hakam po, Sohwang, and Songgi sand dunes. The Managed resource conserved area (III) included Kijipo, Sagumi, Dasa-ri, Kiseong-mangyang, and Wonpyong sand dunes. The Managed resource area included Jikyung, Myeongsahip-ri (W12), Songseok, Myeongsahip-ri(S4), Namyeol II, Pyeonghae, Sambong, Osan-ri, Guryepo, Namyeol I, Dongho, and Balpo sand dunes. Resource utilization area (V) included Mangsang, Buldeung, Hupo, Kkotji, Hosan, Mangyang, Baeksajang, Doksan, and Naro-do sand dunes. Most Resource utilization areas have experienced severe disturbance brought about by beach development and topography changes.