The future of the sand dunes has been key to objections
Part of the sand dunes where Donald Trump has his £1bn golf plans are "the jewel in the crown" among sites of their kind, an expert has said.
Dr Jim Hansom was giving evidence on behalf of Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) at the second week of the inquiry into the plans for north of Aberdeen.
Dr Hansom said the value of the Menie links could not be understated.
He said the natural features of the dunes there were of national scientific interest.
Mr Trump wants to build two championship golf courses, a five star hotel and houses.
Previously, a leading business figure has described delays in dealing with the application as damaging to Scotland's reputation.
Geoff Runcie said the US property tycoon's plans had the "overwhelming support" of the business community.
The chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce asked the Scottish Government to reach a "positive early decision".
The application was rejected by the Aberdeenshire Council's infrastructure services committee before it was called in by the Scottish Government.