Arctic-alpine calcareous grassland

Description (English)

Grasslands on usually shallow, highly calcareous soils on limestone or dolomite slopes and ridges in the alpine or subalpine belts of the high mountains of the temperate zone, being best developed in the Alps, but occurring also in the Carpathians and Pyrenees, with small fragmentary stands also in the Sudetes and in Scotland. Grasses and sedges dominate, along with numerous small herbs, the cover varying from sparse to complete according to the soil depth.

Source: EUNIS habitat classification

Quick facts

EUNIS habitat type code R44
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 sempervirens
Flowering Plants Sesleria caerulea
Flowering Plants Bellidiastrum michelii
Flowering Plants Gentiana clusii
Flowering Plants Dryas octopetala
Flowering Plants Helianthemum alpestre
Flowering Plants Phyteuma orbiculare
Flowering Plants Galium anisophyllon
Flowering Plants Saxifraga paniculata

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 sempervirens Flowering Plants
Sesleria caerulea Flowering Plants
Bellidiastrum michelii Flowering Plants
Gentiana clusii Flowering Plants
Dryas octopetala Flowering Plants
Helianthemum alpestre Flowering Plants
Phyteuma orbiculare Flowering Plants
Galium anisophyllon Flowering Plants
Saxifraga paniculata Flowering Plants
Flowering Plants Sesleria caerulea
Flowering Plants Carex sempervirens
Flowering Plants Anthyllis vulneraria
Flowering Plants Bellidiastrum michelii
Flowering Plants Dryas octopetala
Flowering Plants Phyteuma orbiculare
Flowering Plants Helianthemum nummularium
Flowering Plants Galium anisophyllon
Flowering Plants Saxifraga paniculata
Flowering Plants Poa alpina
Flowering Plants Carduus defloratus
Flowering Plants Lotus corniculatus
Flowering Plants Helianthemum alpestre
Flowering Plants Thymus praecox
Flowering Plants Gentiana verna
Flowering Plants Silene acaulis
Flowering Plants Globularia cordifolia
Mosses & Liverworts Tortella tortuosa

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
Sesleria caerulea Flowering Plants
Carex sempervirens Flowering Plants
Anthyllis vulneraria Flowering Plants
Bellidiastrum michelii Flowering Plants
Dryas octopetala Flowering Plants
Phyteuma orbiculare Flowering Plants
Helianthemum nummularium Flowering Plants
Galium anisophyllon Flowering Plants
Saxifraga paniculata Flowering Plants
Poa alpina Flowering Plants
Carduus defloratus Flowering Plants
Lotus corniculatus Flowering Plants
Helianthemum alpestre Flowering Plants
Thymus praecox Flowering Plants
Gentiana verna Flowering Plants
Silene acaulis Flowering Plants
Globularia cordifolia Flowering Plants
Tortella tortuosa Mosses & Liverworts
Flowering Plants Sesleria caerulea
Flowering Plants Carex sempervirens

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
Sesleria caerulea Flowering Plants
Carex sempervirens Flowering Plants

Other classifications

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
EUNIS Habitat Classification 2007 (revised descriptions 2012) E4.4 Calcareous alpine and subalpine grassland narrower
European Red List of Habitats E4.4a Arctic-alpine calcareous grassland same
For relation to plant communities (syntaxa), see Vegetation types

History

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type Comment
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200410 E4.4 Calcareous alpine and subalpine grassland same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200308 E4.4 Calciphilous alpine and subalpine grassland same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200202 E4.4 Calciphilous alpine and subalpine grassland same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199910 E4.4 Calciphilous alpine and subalpine grassland same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199811 E4.3 Calciphilous alpine and subalpine grassland same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199712 E4.3 Calciphilous alpine grassland same
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 199905 36.4 Boreo-Alpic calciphilous alpine grasslands same
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 1997 36.4 Boreo-Alpic calciphilous alpine grasslands same
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 1996 36.4   same
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 1993 36.4   same
CORINE Biotopes Classification 1991 36.4   same
CORINE Biotopes Classification 1989 36.4   same
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