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Distribution of Sand Dunes in Goa

Kerim – Morjim

At Kerim, the Coastal Area from Tiracol southwards is characterized by stable Sand Dunes in its pristine form. The fore and mid shore dunes are not so prominent. The hind shore is well stabilized with a thick plantation of Casuarina.Arambol (Harmal) has a mixed shore. The sandy shore has very well developed fore and mid dunes and there are well vegetated with plant of Spinifex. The hind shore has patches of Clerodendron and Pandanus plants. Most of the hind shore otherwise is occupied with shacks and small stalls. A sweet water body is located adjacent to the beach at the base of a hill.

Mandrem beach also has long stretch of sand shore with mature dunes and well-protected sand dune vegetation. Here one can see clearly three different types of dunes: the Embryonic Dunes, Mid Shore Dune and Mature Backshore Dunes. The entire coastal stretch is protected by continuous 5-6m high sand dunes with dune vegetation. Some of the sand dunes are shifting in nature as can be observed in Mandrem where new dunes, presently low in height, are being formed, this makes the area prograding coast.

Ashvem has a mixed shore with sandy and rocky beach. Even though there is lots of tourist activities going on here the coastal vegetation is well protected.

Morjim has a good sandy shore with well-developed dune system. A long strip, which terminates at the mouth of river Chapora is marked by extensive rows of sand dunes with dune vegetation being more pronounced in the southern part. The coastal stretch is thickly populated by coconut trees. The hind dunes are not well stabilized but the embryonic and mid shore zone is very prominent.

Chapora – Sinquerim
Below the Chapora fort, and especially at Vagator, low sand dunes are common over a limited stretch. Dune vegetation with coconut trees is also seen. The southern part of Vagator comprises a rocky coast with some sandy pockets.Similarly, at Anjuna, south of the main tourist point, there are extensive sand dunes with vegetal cover along the coast. Many dunes are found to be degraded and altered. Coastal erosive processes, as evidenced by chaotic strandlines, are observed at several places along the shoreline in this sector.
The Baga – Calangute stretch consists of sand dunes, with diverse dune vegetation. A large number of dunes are severely altered and some razed, leveled and eliminated as this belt is extensively and haphazardly built up. At Calangute, although this zone is the main point where tourists converge, sand dunes, with dune vegetation and casuarinas, in various stages of degradation are found north and south of the tourist hostel. The Calangute Sinquerim stretch up to the Aguada headland is marked by a continuous chain of 5 – 6 m high sand dunes with diverse dune and vegetation and coconut trees.

Earlier, Vagator to Sinquerim had very good sandy shore with prominent dune systems. But due to unplanned tourism activities most of the dune systems along with the vegetation is lost.

At certain spots away from the popular beach sites some green cover is still observed but no dune system as such presently exists. Most affected beaches are Anjuna, Baga, Calangute and Candolim.

Caranzalem – Miramar (Mandovi estuary)                                                        BACK
A prominent sand dune belt is found backing the Caranzalem – Miramar beach. New dunes, presently low in height and capped by vegetation, are in the process of formation along the upper reaches of Miramar – Caranzalem beach; it terminates against the wooded hill slopes of Cabo promontory. However, sand dunes are progressively being destroyed. At Campal, due to severe erosion, the primitive beach no longer exists, except for a small portion near Panjim city. Instead, a sea wall, almost 2 km long, has virtually replaced the beach; this concrete / stone wall is placed in the intertidal zone. The opposite Nerul (Coco) protected beach does not show any significant dunes.
The Miramar – Caranzalem strip is the most prominent dune belt within the estuaries of Goa. This strip mostly consists of several pocket beaches backed by wooded hill slopes, now in various stages of degradation (Dona Paula). Notable sandy beaches are found at Vainguinim, Odxel, Bambolim, and particularly at Siridao where dunes are low. The opposite side of the estuary is generally devoid of beaches except the sandy portion at Vasco.
Vasco – Mobor

The sea front comprises rocky headlands, sparsely wooded, with only two major beaches: the one at Baina is severely degraded whereas the one at Bogmalo, lined by dense coconut trees, is more natural. Here, low sand dunes are present but some of them are obliterated. To the south, the coast is mostly rocky (Chicolna, Dabolim) with a few pocket beaches and secluded cover such as the one at Hollant.

This linear stretch with a very wide beach is backed by the largest and the longest strip of sand dunes of the entire coastal zone of Goa.

At Velsao, the coastal area is characterized by thick coconut plantations; sand dunes are low. Most of the shoreline is under threat of erosive processes as evidenced by eroded berms and uprooted trees. The Cansaulim – Arossim part consists of very prominent 6 to 8 m high vegetated sand dunes. Many dunes have been leveled. The Utorda – Majorda – Gonsua – Betalbatim coastal zone is marked by long strips of sand dunes, some as high as 8 m, with associated vegetation. Coconut plantations are prominent. At several places in this stretch, sand dunes have been flattened and obliterated. Severe beach erosion is observed near Majorda beach resort.

At Colva, sand dunes, 5 to 6 m in height, with dune vegetation and coconut plantations are still seen on either side of the main beach point, which has turned into a crowded area. A small seasonal lagoon along the beach is an annual hydrodynamic feature at Colva. The Sernabatim – Benualim – Varca – Cavelossim – Mobor coast is the most prolific as it is packed by protective sand dunes, varying in elevation from 3 to 10 m (Sriram and Prasad, 1988), with associated vegetation including luxuriant Casuarina plantations as in Varca. Here, several dunes have been flattened and even removed. A similar situation is observed at Cavelosim and particularly Mobor where sand dunes are severely damaged. Large dune areas have been razed. Sand extraction is rampant in the entire stretch. Several new coast perpendicular roads have been built during the last few years. The stretch from Velsao upto Mobor peninsula, characterized by the most majestic sand dunes, is the most exquisite dune belt of the entire coastal zone of Goa.

Talpona – Galgibaga

The Talpona river mouth area comprises a unique ecosystem with prominent sand dunes and associated Casuarina vegetation along the northern sea front, a luxuriant growth of mangroves within the estuary and a headland with a thick forest cover in the south. The entire belt is characterized by majestic sand dunes, some as high as 6 – 8 m. At some places, close to the existing parallel road, high dunes have been blatantly razed and obliterated.

Agonda, Palolem and Galgibag have a very good shore with Casuarina trees too close to the fore shore and the regenerating fore dunes. Loliem and Polem have small strips of sandy beach very close to local habitation.