Red List habitat classification > RLB - Coastal habitats > RLB1.5b Atlantic coastal Calluna and Ulex heath

Atlantic coastal Calluna and Ulex heath

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLB1.5b
Threat status
Europe Least Concern
EU Least Concern
Relation to
Source European Red List habitat factsheet
European Red List of habitats reports
European Red List of habitats (Excel table)

Summary

Decalcified fixed dunes colonized by relatively low heaths and spiny legumes in the European Atlantic coasts under humid climatic conditions, often with dominance of Calluna vulgaris and/or Erica spp. Soils are coarsely sandy and well drained and under the predomimant hydric regime (high rainfall or ground water) leaching of soluble basic nutrients, particularly calcium, is very active.

Sedges and grasses are common all over the habitat’s range. In the southern sector (southern Portugal) an endemic gorse preferently grows in this habitat (Ulex australis subsp. welwistchianus), while another one is also frequent in North-western Iberia (Ulex europaeus subsp. latebracteatus). Several coastal scrub species occur in the habitat, like Genista triacanthos and Halimium halimifolium. In the northern parts of the Atlantic coast and the Baltics the habitat is replaced by dune heaths dominated by Empetrum nigrum (B1.5a).

This low sized heathland is forming a dense scrub and plays an important role in the dune fixation. Soils are acidic, coarse sandy and have a low water retention capacity.

Indicators of good quality:

An optimal state of this habitat type is a dense scrub formed by heaths, gorses and some herbaceous plants (Carex and grasses) of low size (40 to 80 cm), with no or few open patches and without exotic species, trees or tall shrubs. Indicators of good quality are:

  • relatively low, closed structure
  • dominance by heaths and gorses
  • absence of non-native, invasive species
  • absence or low abundance of trees and tall shrubs

Characteristic species
For full habitat description, please download the habitat factsheet.

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

Although there has been a decline in quantity and quality over the last 50 years, the negative trends are not severe, and both criteria A1 (trend in quantity) and C/D1 (trend in quality) lead to a Least Concern status for this habitat.
EU
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Least Concern -
Europe
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Least Concern -

Confidence in the assessment

medium
Red List of habitat categories and criteria descriptions

Pressures and threats

  • Agriculture
    • Abandonment of pastoral systems, lack of grazing
  • Human intrusions and disturbances
    • Trampling, overuse
  • Pollution
    • Nitrogen-input
  • Invasive, other problematic species and genes
    • Invasive non-native species
  • Natural biotic and abiotic processes (without catastrophes)
    • Erosion

Habitat restoration potential

When damaged, the recovering process of this habitat is low and at least about 20 years are needed.

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Decreasing Decreasing
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Decreasing Decreasing
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

This habitat occurs very localised and is conserved in few protected areas. Traditional management is needed to maintain the habitat for the long term.

List of conservation and management needs

  • No measures
    • No measures needed for the conservation of the habitat/species
  • Measures related to agriculture and open habitats
    • Maintaining grasslands and other open habitats
  • Measures related to wetland, freshwater and coastal habitats
    • Restoring coastal areas
  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Establish protected areas/sites

Distribution

For each habitat a distribution map was produced from a wide variety of sources indicating known and potential occurrences of the habitat in 10x10 km grids within Europe. Occurrences in grid cells were given in two classes: actual distribution from relatively reliable sources (surveys, expert knowledge), and potential distribution based on models or less reliable indicators. Please download the fact sheet to see the map.

Geographic occurrence and trends

EU28 Present or presence uncertain Current area of habitat (Km2) Recent trend in quantity (last 50 years) Recent trend in quality (last 50 years)
Belgium Present Unknown Unknown
France mainland Present 10 Decreasing Decreasing
Ireland Present 0.5 Unknown Stable
Netherlands Present 4.2 Stable Stable
Portugal mainland Present 7 Decreasing Stable
Spain mainland Present 30 Decreasing Decreasing
United Kingdom Present 9 Decreasing Stable
Germany Present 4 Stable Decreasing
EU28 + Present or presence uncertain Current area of habitat (Km2) Recent trend in quantity (last 50 years) Recent trend in quality (last 50 years)
Guernsey Present Unknown Unknown
Jersey Present Unknown Unknown

Extent of Occurrence, Area of Occupancy and habitat area

Extent of Occurrence (EOO) (Km2) Area of Occupancy (AOO) Current estimated Total Area Comment
EU28 2080500 227 65 Based on existing data provided by EU member States
EU28+ 227 65 no additional quantitative data
AOO = the area occupied by a habitat measured in number of 10x10 km grid cells.
EOO = the area (km2) of the envelope around all occurrences of a habitat (calculated by a minimum convex polygon).

Characteristic species

The full list of characteristic species and genus are available above from the Summary. The species available in the EUNIS database are shown here.
Amphibians Pleurodeles waltl
Birds Alectoris rufa
Birds Caprimulgus europaeus
Birds Caprimulgus ruficollis
Birds Lanius senator
Birds Lullula arborea
Birds Merops apiaster
Birds Saxicola torquata
Birds Sylvia conspicillata
Birds Sylvia melanocephala
Birds Sylvia undata
Flowering Plants Calluna vulgaris
Flowering Plants Carex arenaria
Flowering Plants Carex trinervis
Flowering Plants Empetrum nigrum
Flowering Plants Erica ciliaris
Flowering Plants Erica cinerea
Flowering Plants Erica scoparia
Flowering Plants Erica umbellata
Flowering Plants Genista triacanthos
Flowering Plants Halimium halimifolium
Flowering Plants Ulex europaeus
Reptiles Chalcides striatus
Reptiles Chamaeleo chamaeleon
Reptiles Hemorrhois hippocrepis
Reptiles Macroprotodon brevis
Reptiles Malpolon monspessulanus
Reptiles Podarcis bocagei
Reptiles Podarcis carbonelli
Reptiles Psammodromus algirus
Reptiles Rhinechis scalaris
Reptiles Testudo graeca
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Pleurodeles waltl Sharp-ribbed salamander Amphibians
Alectoris rufa Red-legged Partridge Birds
Caprimulgus europaeus Nightjar Birds
Caprimulgus ruficollis Red-necked Nightjar Birds
Lanius senator Woodchat Shrike Birds
Lullula arborea Woodlark Birds
Merops apiaster Bee-eater Birds
Saxicola torquata Stonechat Birds
Sylvia conspicillata Spectacled Warbler Birds
Sylvia melanocephala Sardinian Warbler Birds
Sylvia undata Dartford Warbler Birds
Calluna vulgaris Flowering Plants
Carex arenaria Flowering Plants
Carex trinervis Flowering Plants
Empetrum nigrum Flowering Plants
Erica ciliaris Flowering Plants
Erica cinerea Flowering Plants
Erica scoparia Flowering Plants
Erica umbellata Flowering Plants
Genista triacanthos Flowering Plants
Halimium halimifolium Flowering Plants
Ulex europaeus Flowering Plants
Chalcides striatus Three-toad skink Reptiles
Chamaeleo chamaeleon European chameleon Reptiles
Hemorrhois hippocrepis Reptiles
Macroprotodon brevis Reptiles
Malpolon monspessulanus Montpellier snake Reptiles
Podarcis bocagei Bocage's wall lizard Reptiles
Podarcis carbonelli Reptiles
Psammodromus algirus Algerian sand racer Reptiles
Rhinechis scalaris Reptiles
Testudo graeca Mediterranean spur-thighed tortoise Reptiles

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Other classifications

This habitat may be equivalent to, or broather than, or narrower than the habitats or ecosystems in the following typologies.
Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200711 B1.5 Coastal dune heaths narrower
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