EUNIS habitat classification 2017 > N - Coastal habitats > N1 - Coastal dunes and sandy shores > N15 - Atlantic and Baltic coastal dune grassland (grey dune)

Atlantic and Baltic coastal dune grassland (grey dune)

Description (English)

Grasslands that develop on the stabilised sands of older (grey) dunes along the Atlantic (southern to middle Portugal), North Sea and Baltic coasts. The sandy substrate, thinly enriched with accumulating humus, is well-drained and can dry out during summer. Typically with a more or less complete cover of (relatively low) grasses, herbs, bryophytes and lichens, sometimes with low shrubs, they comprise one of the most species-rich habitats on the temperate European coast. The flora can vary with the regional climate, with the character of the substrate, from acid to highly calcareous, and with the local dune topography. Individual dune systems can vary from narrow strips to enormous stretches, though most are not a dynamic stage in succession, but maintained in a more or less stable fixed state. They were often grazed or mown in the past, and missing dune fixation prevented the development of dense, tall grasslands as well as scrub and woodland. The habitat is threatened in most countries by the abandonment of traditional farming, by eutrophication through nitrogen deposition, overuse and urbanisation, often related to tourism.

Source: EUNIS habitat classification

Quick facts

EUNIS habitat type code N15
Relation to Resolution 4 habitat type (used for designation of Emerald sites)

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Indicator species

Diagnostic species
Constant species
Dominant species
Flowering Plants Carex arenaria
Flowering Plants Malcolmia littorea
Flowering Plants Corynephorus canescens
Flowering Plants Phleum arenarium
Flowering Plants Festuca polesica
Flowering Plants Euphorbia portlandica
Flowering Plants Armeria welwitschii
Flowering Plants Galium arenarium
Flowering Plants Ammophila arenaria
Flowering Plants Iberis procumbens
Flowering Plants Verbascum litigiosum
Flowering Plants Anchusa calcarea
Flowering Plants Thymus carnosus
Flowering Plants Linaria caesia
Flowering Plants Reichardia gaditana

Diagnostic species occur concentrated in the habitat in question, but are absent or rare in other habitats. They are good positive indicators of the habitat, but they do not need to occur in every location of the habitat.

Species scientific name English common name Species group
Carex arenaria Flowering Plants
Malcolmia littorea Flowering Plants
Corynephorus canescens Flowering Plants
Phleum arenarium Flowering Plants
Festuca polesica Flowering Plants
Euphorbia portlandica Flowering Plants
Armeria welwitschii Flowering Plants
Galium arenarium Flowering Plants
Ammophila arenaria Flowering Plants
Iberis procumbens Flowering Plants
Verbascum litigiosum Flowering Plants
Anchusa calcarea Flowering Plants
Thymus carnosus Flowering Plants
Linaria caesia Flowering Plants
Reichardia gaditana Flowering Plants
Flowering Plants Carex arenaria
Flowering Plants Corynephorus canescens
Flowering Plants Ammophila arenaria
Flowering Plants Festuca rubra
Flowering Plants Sedum acre
Flowering Plants Jasione montana
Flowering Plants Hieracium umbellatum
Flowering Plants Artemisia campestris
Flowering Plants Hypochaeris radicata
Mosses & Liverworts Syntrichia ruralis
Flowering Plants Rumex acetosella
Mosses & Liverworts Hypnum cupressiforme
Flowering Plants Galium verum
Flowering Plants Calamagrostis epigejos
Flowering Plants Phleum arenarium
Mosses & Liverworts Ceratodon purpureus
Flowering Plants Leontodon saxatilis
Flowering Plants Cerastium semidecandrum
Flowering Plants Plantago lanceolata

Constant species occur frequently in the habitat, but they may include generalist species that are also frequent in other habitats.

Species scientific name English common name Species group
Carex arenaria Flowering Plants
Corynephorus canescens Flowering Plants
Ammophila arenaria Flowering Plants
Festuca rubra Flowering Plants
Sedum acre Flowering Plants
Jasione montana Flowering Plants
Hieracium umbellatum Flowering Plants
Artemisia campestris Flowering Plants
Hypochaeris radicata Flowering Plants
Syntrichia ruralis Mosses & Liverworts
Rumex acetosella Flowering Plants
Hypnum cupressiforme Mosses & Liverworts
Galium verum Flowering Plants
Calamagrostis epigejos Flowering Plants
Phleum arenarium Flowering Plants
Ceratodon purpureus Mosses & Liverworts
Leontodon saxatilis Flowering Plants
Cerastium semidecandrum Flowering Plants
Plantago lanceolata Flowering Plants
Mosses & Liverworts Syntrichia ruralis
Flowering Plants Carex arenaria
Flowering Plants Corynephorus canescens
Flowering Plants Calamagrostis epigejos

Dominant species are those that often reach high cover in the habitat, thus determining the habitat physiognomy.

Species scientific name English common name Species group
Syntrichia ruralis Mosses & Liverworts
Carex arenaria Flowering Plants
Corynephorus canescens Flowering Plants
Calamagrostis epigejos Flowering Plants

History

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type Comment
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200410 B1.4 Coastal stable dune grassland (grey dunes) same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200308 B1.4 Coastal stable dune grassland (grey dunes) same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200202 B1.4 Coastal stable dune grassland (grey dunes) same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199910 B1.4 Coastal stable dune grassland (grey dunes) same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199811 B1.4 Coastal stable dune grassland (grey dunes) same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199712 B5.32 Grey dunes same
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 199905 16.22 Grey dunes same
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 1997 16.22 Grey dunes same
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 1996 16.22   same
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 1993 16.22   same
CORINE Biotopes Classification 1991 16.22   same
CORINE Biotopes Classification 1989 16.22   same
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