Atlantic and Baltic coastal dune scrub
|Red List habitat type||code RLB1.6a|
|Source||European Red List habitat factsheet|
|European Red List of habitats reports|
|European Red List of habitats (Excel table)|
A broad habitat type, covering more or less all low to high scrub in dry dunes and wet dune slacks in the Baltic and Atlantic coastal regions. The species composition differs over climatic regions. In north-western Europe and the southern Baltic Hippophae rhamnoides and Salix repens ssp. arenarius are mainly dominating in dry dunes, while Ulex europaeus, Cytisus scoparius and Rubus ulmifolius are important species in dry dunes of the warmer parts of the Atlantic coasts. In wet dune slacks, typically Salix scrub is found, especially Salix repens, Salix cinerea, Salix atrocinerea and Salix rosmarinifolius. In the Baltic region Salix repens ssp. arenarius and Salix rosmarinifolius grow together with boreal heather species, while along the Portuguese coast in wet dunes Salix repens and Salix atrocinerea are accompanied by some Atlantic-Mediterranean species, like Scirpus holoschoenus. Salix repens ssp. arenarius is found in drier parts of the dunes as well. In mesic dune slacks it is typically accompanied by Monotropa hypopitys, living saprophytic on Salix-specific ectomycorrhizal fungi, and by Pyrola minor and Pyrola rotundifolia, forming the association Pyrolo-Salicetum. This association is known for many rare fungi, of which some live in symbiosis with Salix repens. Very low Salix repens-scrub (mowed or grazed) forming a component in fen or grassland communities is not included in this habitat, but considered under dune slacks (B1.8a) or dune grasslands (B1.4a). The same goes for relatively low scrub of Rosa spinosissima (sometimes known as R. pimpinellifolia), forming a component of grasslands.
The habitat is especially well developed in dry, calcium-rich dunes, where it reaches several meters of height and may form a dense formation, relatively rich in shrub species. Besides the already mentioned species Rhamnus cathartica, Ligustrum vulgare, Berberis vulgaris, Euonymus europaeus, Sambucus nigra, Crataegus monogyna and several species of Rosa and Rubus contribute to the biodiversity. The many berries produced by the shrubs play an important role as a food source for birds, especially during the migrating season in late summer and autumn. A typical accompanying species is the climbing Bryonia cretica.
The dune shrublands have been classified in the order Salicetalia arenariae, in which three alliances are distinguished: Salicion arenariae, Ligustro-Hippophaeion, and Holoschoeno australis-Salicion arenariae, the latter being restricted to the warmest parts of the Atlantic coast. Additional the communities of Salix cinerea (alliance Salicion cinereae.) are included in the habitat. The Pyrolo-Salicetum is sometimes classified in the Empetrion nigri.
In some places also Juniperus species form coastal scrub. Juniperus communis is known from temperate coasts, for example calcareous dunes of north-western Jutland. In the Mediterranean coasts several other Juniperus species are found, and some of them northwards reach the warmer Atlantic dunes.
Indicators of good quality:
- Dense and high structure of scrub
- Diversity in shrub species
- Absence of non-native species, like Rosa rugosa, Eleagnos spp., Cornus spp., ...
- Low cover of trees
- Presence of breeding birds
- Food supply for migrating birds in autumn
- Presence of rare fungi
In some parts of the range (for example England) dune shrubs have been planted and form a threat to dune grasslands and other more species-rich habitats.
Synthesis of Red List assessment
|Red List Category||Red List Criteria|
|Red List Category||Red List Criteria|
Confidence in the assessment
Pressures and threats
- Agricultural intensification
- Human intrusions and disturbances
- Outdoor sports and leisure activities, recreational activities
- Invasive, other problematic species and genes
- Invasive non-native species
- Natural System modifications
- Human induced changes in hydraulic conditions
- Natural biotic and abiotic processes (without catastrophes)
- Species composition change (succession)
Habitat restoration potential
Trends in extent
Average current trend in quantity
Trends in quality
Average current trend in quality
Conservation and management needs
Specific measures relate to the removal of invasive non-native species, which are able to dominate dune shrublands.
List of conservation and management needs
- Measures related to hunting, taking and fishing and species management
- Specific single species or species group management measures
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)|
|EU28 +||Present or presence uncertain||Current area of habitat (Km2)||Recent trend in quantity (last 50 years)||Recent trend in quality (last 50 years)|
Extent of Occurrence, Area of Occupancy and habitat area
|Extent of Occurrence (EOO) (Km2)||Area of Occupancy (AOO)||Current estimated Total Area||Comment|
EOO = the area (km2) of the envelope around all occurrences of a habitat (calculated by a minimum convex polygon).