Alpine and Boreal heaths
|EU Habitats Directive||Annex I habitat type (code 4060)|
|EU conservation status by biogeographical region||Alpine - Poor|
|Atlantic - Bad|
|Boreal - Poor|
|Continental - Poor|
|Macaronesian - Good|
|Mediterranean - Unknown|
|Habitat type||Not priority|
|Natura 2000 sites||871 are designated for this habitat type|
Small, dwarf or prostrate shrub formations of the alpine and subalpine zones of the mountains of Eurasia dominated by ericaceous species, Dryas octopetala, dwarf junipers, brooms or greenweeds; Dryas heaths of the British Isles and Scandinavia.
The following subtypes are included:
Pal. 31.41 Alpide dwarf ericoid wind heaths. Loiseleurio-Vaccinion.
Very low, single-stratum, carpets of trailing azalea, Loiseleuria procumbens, prostrate Vaccinium spp. or other prostrate ericoid shrublets, accompanied by lichen, of high windswept, mostly snowfree, localities in the alpine belt of the high mountains of the Alpine system.
Pal. 31.42 Acidocline alpenrose heaths. Rhododendro-Vaccinion.
Rhododendron spp.-dominated heaths of acid podsols in the Alps, the Pyrenees, the Dinarids, the Carpathians, the Balkan Range, the Pontic Range, the Caucasus and the Himalayan system, often with Vaccinium spp., sometimes with dwarf pines.
Pal. 31.43 Mountain dwarf juniper scrub. Juniperion nanae, Pino-Juniperion sabinae p., Pino-Cytision purgantis p.
Usually dense formations of prostrate junipers of the higher levels of southern Palaearctic mountains.
Pal. 31.44 High mountain Empetrum-Vaccinium heaths. Empetro-Vaccinietum uliginosi.
Dwarf heaths dominated by Empetrum hermaphroditum, Vaccinium uliginosum, with Arctostaphylos alpinus, Vaccinium myrtillus, Vaccinium vitis-idaea and lycopodes (Huperzia selago, Diphasiastrum alpinum), mosses (Barbilophozia lycopodioides, Hylocomium splendens, Pleurozium schreberi, Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus) and lichens (Cetraria islandica, Cladonia arbuscula, Cladonia rangiferina, Cladonia stellaris, Cladonia gracilis, Peltigera aphthosa) of the subalpine belt of the Alps, the Carpathians, the Pyrenees, the Central Massif, the Jura, the Northern Apennines, characteristic of relatively windswept, snow-free stations, in frost-exposure situations that are, however, less extreme than those prevailing where communities of Pal. 31.41 dominate. Unlike the formations of Pal. 31.41, those of Pal. 31.44 are clearly two-layered.
Pal. 31.45 Boreo-alpine heaths
Alpine heaths of the highlands and islands of Scotland, alpine and lowland boreal heaths of Iceland, alpine heaths of boreal mountains, in particular of the mountains of Scandinavia, of the Urals, of the mountains of Siberia, alpine heaths of Far Eastern mountains at, or just south of, the limits of the boreal zone, with Juniperus nana, Loiseleuria procumbens, Empetrum hermaphroditum, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Arctostaphylos alpinus and elements of Alpine flora.
31.46 Bruckenthalia heaths: only outside the European Union.)
31.47 Alpide bearberry heaths. Mugo-Rhodoretum hirsuti p., Juniperion nanae p., i.a.
Mats of Arctostaphylos uva-ursi or Arctostaphylos alpinus of the alpine, subalpine and locally, montane, belts of the Alps, the Pyrenees, the northern and central Apennines, the Dinarids, the Carpathians, the Balkan Range, the Rhodopides (south to the Slavianka-Orvilos, the Menikion, the Pangeon, the Falakron and the Rhodopi), the Moeso-Macedonian mountains (including Athos), the Pelagonides (south to the Greek Macedonian border ranges Tzena, Pinovon and Kajmakchalan) and Olympus, in the Thessalian mountains, mostly on calcareous substrates.
Pal. 31.48 Hairy alpenrose-erica heaths. Mugo-Rhodoretum hirsuti p.
Forest substitution heaths, treeline fringe formations and alpine heaths or mats of calcareous soils in the Alps and the Dinarides, with Rhododendron hirsutum, Rhododendron intermedium, Rhodothamnus chamaecistus and Erica herbacea, often accompanied by Clematis alpina, Daphne striata, Daphne mezereum, Globularia cordifolia, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi. Rhododendron hirsutum and, mostly in the Austrian Alps, Erica herbacea are the most frequent dominants; other shrubs can locally play that role. Arctostaphylos spp.-dominated facies have, however, been included in Pal. 31.47.
Pal. 31.49 Mountain avens mats
Dwarf heaths formed by mats of the woody Dryas octopetala in high Palaearctic mountains, in boreal regions and in isolated Atlantic coastal outposts.
Pal. 31.4A High mountain dwarf bilberry heaths
Vaccinium-dominated dwarf heaths of the subalpine belt of southern mountains, in particular, of the northern and central Apennines, the Balkan Range, the Helenides, the Pontic Range and the Caucasus, with Vaccinium myrtillus, Vaccinium uliginosum s.l., Vaccinium vitis-idaea and, locally, Empetrum nigrum. They are richer in grassland species than the communities of Pal. 31.44 and often take the appearance of alpine grassland with dwarf shrubs. Vaccinium myrtillus also plays a much more dominant role, in lieu of Vaccinium uliginosum and Empetrum hermaphroditum.
Pal. 31.4B High mountain greenweed heaths
Low Genista spp. or Chamaecytisus spp. heaths of the subalpine, low alpine or montane belts of high southern nemoral mountains, in particular of the southern Alps, the Apennines, the Dinarides, the southern Carpathians, the Balkan Range, the Moeso-Macedonian mountains, the Pelagonides, the northern Pindus, the Rhodopides, the Thessalian mountains.
EU conservation status
Conservation status assesses every six years and for each biogeographical region the condition of habitats and species compared to the favourable status as described in the Habitats Directive. The map shows the 2013-2018 assessments as reported by EU Member State. Assessments are further detailed in the summary document available behind the link below.
Species mentioned in habitat description
Natura 2000 sites
Protected in the following Natura 2000 sites
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Mentioned in the following international legal instruments and agreements
Relation to habitat classifications
|Classification||Code||Habitat type name||Relationship type|
|Nordic Vegetation Classification 1994||1.2.1||Hedvegetation på fattigt underlag||narrower|
|Nordic Vegetation Classification 1994||1.2.2||Hedvegetation på rikt/kalkrikt underlag||narrower|
|Nordic Vegetation Classification 1994||1.1||Snöfria vindhedar||narrower|
|Nordic Vegetation Classification 1994||18.104.22.168||Cassiope hypnoides-Salix herbacea typ||narrower|
|Nordic Vegetation Classification 1994||22.214.171.124||Salix polaris typ||narrower|
|National Vegetation Classification (UK)||H17||Calluna vulgaris Arctostaphylos alpinus heath||narrower|
|National Vegetation Classification (UK)||H13||Calluna vulgaris-Cladonia arbuscula heath||narrower|
|National Vegetation Classification (UK)||H15||Calluna vulgaris-Juniperus communis ssp. nana heath||narrower|
|National Vegetation Classification (UK)||H14||Calluna vulgaris-Racomitrium lanuginosum heath||narrower|
|National Vegetation Classification (UK)||H19||Vaccinium myrtillus-Cladonia arbuscula heath||narrower|
|National Vegetation Classification (UK)||H20||Vaccinium myrtillus-Racomitrium lanuginosum heath||narrower|
|National Vegetation Classification (UK)||H22||Vaccinium myrtillus-Rubus chamaemorus heath||narrower|