Red List habitat classification > RLB - Coastal habitats > RLB3.1b Mediterranean and Black Sea rocky sea cliff and shore

Mediterranean and Black Sea rocky sea cliff and shore

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLB3.1b
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

This habitat type comprises open, halo-chasmophytic communities developing on the cliffs along the thermo-Atlantic, Mediterranean and Black Sea coasts. These coenoses develop under the influence of salt spray from the sea, especially in the supralittoral parts. Vertical to gently sloping bedrock and stable boulders in the supralittoral (or splash zone) of the majority of rocky shores are typically characterised by diverse maritime communities of yellow and grey lichens, such as Xanthoria parietina, Caloplaca marina, Lecanora atra and Ramalina spp. The black lichen Verrucaria maura is also present, but usually in lower abundance than in the littoral fringe zone. In wave exposed conditions, where the effects of salt spray extend further up the shore, the lichens generally form a wide and distinct band. The higher parts of sea cliffs are colonized by disjunct assemblages of salt-tolerant, halophytic or even halo-nitrophilous crevice plants (chasmophytes) or by more or less closed salt-tolerant grasslands (mainly on the cliff top). Perennial herbs are dominant, but also some annuals occur. There are processes of aridisation of the vegetation on the top of the higher rocks where the floristic composition is richer in different species depending upon the neighbouring dominant vegetation. The floristic composition depends also on the bedrock types, which are very diverse in the different part of habitat’s range. The main two groups are calcareous and silicate (often with volcanic origin) rocks and even loess-sand low cliffs along the Romanian Black Sea coast. Rare and endemic plants as well as widely distributed and ruderal nitrophilous species occur in the species composition. The vegetation belongs to the class Crithmo-Staticetea and the character species Crithmum maritimum is common everywhere in the habitat’s range. The Mediterranean sea cliffs harbour numerous endemics of extremely local occurrence, in particular many species belonging to the genus Limonium, which comprises at least 43 and probably 120 to 150 Mediterranean cliff species, many of which restricted to a few localities. Several of these species are seriously threatened, like for instance Limonium remotispiculum of southern Italy and Limonium strictissimum of Corsica and Caprera. Some stable and high coastal cliffs are inhabited by shrub communities of Ficus carica, Colutea arborescens and Ulmus minor.

Indicators of good quality:

In good conditions this habitat is rich in regional endemic species and the natural floristic structure is given by salt-tolerant chasmophytic species and halophytes. It is threatened by natural causes: the abrasive activities of sea waves leading to the natural destruction of the rocks. Other threats are the tourist development of the coastal areas, pollution and nitrification of the coastal cliffs and increase of not typical ruderal or alien species.

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

All provided data lead to the conclusion that the habitat qualifies as Least Concern (LC) because the negative trends in quantity and in quality are small, and the habitats has a wide geographical distribution.
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

  • Urbanisation, residential and commercial development
    • Continuous urbanisation
    • Dispersed habitation
  • Human intrusions and disturbances
    • Walking, horseriding and non-motorised vehicles
    • Motorised vehicles
    • Mountaineering & rock climbing
    • Golf course
    • Trampling, overuse
  • Pollution
    • Nutrient enrichment (N, P, organic matter)

Habitat restoration potential

The recovery process of degraded areas is quite rapid if the frequantation is organised and controled.

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

In protected areas, the fencing of degraded places and control of freqentation allow the natural regeneration of this habitat.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to wetland, freshwater and coastal habitats
    • Restoring coastal areas

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)
Cyprus Present 1 Unknown Stable
France mainland Present 57 Decreasing Decreasing
Corsica Present 57 Decreasing Decreasing
Greece (mainland and other islands) Present 305 Decreasing Stable
Crete Present 305 Decreasing Stable
East Aegean Present 305 Decreasing Stable
Italy mainland Present 97 Decreasing Decreasing
Sardinia Present 97 Decreasing Decreasing
Sicily Present 97 Decreasing Decreasing
Malta Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Slovenia Present 0.03 Stable Stable
Spain mainland Present 16 Decreasing Stable
Balearic Islands Present 16 Decreasing Stable
Bulgaria Present 0.85 Decreasing Decreasing
Portugal mainland Present 0.3 Decreasing Decreasing
Romania Present 0.1 Decreasing Stable
Croatia Present 12 Decreasing 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)
Albania Present Unknown - -
Bosnia and Herzegovina Present 0.65 Decreasing Decreasing

Extent of Occurrence, Area of Occupancy and habitat area

Extent of Occurrence (EOO) (Km2) Area of Occupancy (AOO) Current estimated Total Area Comment
EU28 3241450 1317 490 Based on existing data provided by EU member States.
EU28+ 1322 491 The provided quantitative data are not complete.
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.
Birds Apus apus
Birds Calonectris diomedea
Birds Falco eleonorae
Birds Hydrobates pelagicus
Birds Larus audouinii
Birds Phalacrocorax aristotelis
Birds Puffinus yelkouan
Birds Sturnus roseus
Flowering Plants Allium commutatum
Flowering Plants Anthemis rigida
Flowering Plants Anthyllis barba-jovis
Flowering Plants Asteriscus maritimus
Flowering Plants Atriplex hastata
Flowering Plants Atriplex tatarica
Flowering Plants Bellium crassifolium
Flowering Plants Bellium minutum
Flowering Plants Brassica insularis
Flowering Plants Catapodium marinum
Flowering Plants Centaurea cineraria
Flowering Plants Centaurea filiformis
Flowering Plants Cephalaria mediterranea
Flowering Plants Cichorium intybus
Flowering Plants Cichorium spinosum
Flowering Plants Colutea arborescens
Flowering Plants Convolvulus lineatus
Flowering Plants Crithmum maritimum
Flowering Plants Crucianella rupestris
Flowering Plants Daucus carota
Flowering Plants Daucus gingidium
Flowering Plants Ecballium elaterium
Flowering Plants Elymus pycnanthus
Flowering Plants Euphorbia pithyusa
Flowering Plants Ficus carica
Flowering Plants Frankenia hirsuta
Flowering Plants Frankenia laevis
Flowering Plants Frankenia pulverulenta
Flowering Plants Goniolimon collinum
Flowering Plants Halimione verrucifera
Flowering Plants Helichrysum litoreum
Flowering Plants Helichrysum rupestre
Flowering Plants Hyoseris taurina
Flowering Plants Kochia prostrata
Flowering Plants Lactuca saligna
Flowering Plants Leuzea salina
Flowering Plants Limonium remotispiculum
Flowering Plants Limonium strictissimum
Flowering Plants Lotus cytisoides
Flowering Plants Melilotus officinalis
Flowering Plants Parapholis incurva
Flowering Plants Phleum crypsoides
Flowering Plants Phleum exaratum
Flowering Plants Plantago weldenii
Flowering Plants Prangos ferulacea
Flowering Plants Psilurus incurvus
Flowering Plants Reichardia picroides
Flowering Plants Sagina maritima
Flowering Plants Scolymus hispanicus
Flowering Plants Sedum litoreum
Flowering Plants Senecio bicolor
Flowering Plants Senecio cineraria
Flowering Plants Silene compacta
Flowering Plants Silene sedoides
Flowering Plants Ulmus minor
Flowering Plants Valantia muralis
Flowering Plants Xanthium spinosum
Fungi Xanthoria parietina
Invertebrates Ligia italica
Mammals Monachus monachus
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Apus apus Swift Birds
Calonectris diomedea Cory's Shearwater Birds
Falco eleonorae Eleonora's Falcon Birds
Hydrobates pelagicus Storm Petrel Birds
Larus audouinii Audouin's Gull Birds
Phalacrocorax aristotelis Shag Birds
Puffinus yelkouan Levantine Shearwater Birds
Sturnus roseus Rose-coloured Starling Birds
Allium commutatum Flowering Plants
Anthemis rigida Flowering Plants
Anthyllis barba-jovis Flowering Plants
Asteriscus maritimus Flowering Plants
Atriplex hastata Flowering Plants
Atriplex tatarica Flowering Plants
Bellium crassifolium Flowering Plants
Bellium minutum Flowering Plants
Brassica insularis Flowering Plants
Catapodium marinum Flowering Plants
Centaurea cineraria Flowering Plants
Centaurea filiformis Flowering Plants
Cephalaria mediterranea Flowering Plants
Cichorium intybus Flowering Plants
Cichorium spinosum Flowering Plants
Colutea arborescens Flowering Plants
Convolvulus lineatus Flowering Plants
Crithmum maritimum Flowering Plants
Crucianella rupestris Flowering Plants
Daucus carota Flowering Plants
Daucus gingidium Flowering Plants
Ecballium elaterium Flowering Plants
Elymus pycnanthus Flowering Plants
Euphorbia pithyusa Flowering Plants
Ficus carica Flowering Plants
Frankenia hirsuta Flowering Plants
Frankenia laevis Flowering Plants
Frankenia pulverulenta Flowering Plants
Goniolimon collinum Flowering Plants
Halimione verrucifera Flowering Plants
Helichrysum litoreum Flowering Plants
Helichrysum rupestre Flowering Plants
Hyoseris taurina Flowering Plants
Kochia prostrata Flowering Plants
Lactuca saligna Flowering Plants
Leuzea salina Flowering Plants
Limonium remotispiculum Flowering Plants
Limonium strictissimum Flowering Plants
Lotus cytisoides Flowering Plants
Melilotus officinalis Flowering Plants
Parapholis incurva Flowering Plants
Phleum crypsoides Flowering Plants
Phleum exaratum Flowering Plants
Plantago weldenii Flowering Plants
Prangos ferulacea Flowering Plants
Psilurus incurvus Flowering Plants
Reichardia picroides Flowering Plants
Sagina maritima Flowering Plants
Scolymus hispanicus Flowering Plants
Sedum litoreum Flowering Plants
Senecio bicolor Flowering Plants
Senecio cineraria Flowering Plants
Silene compacta Flowering Plants
Silene sedoides Flowering Plants
Ulmus minor Flowering Plants
Valantia muralis Flowering Plants
Xanthium spinosum Flowering Plants
Xanthoria parietina Fungi
Ligia italica Invertebrates
Monachus monachus Mediterranean monk seal Mammals

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Other classifications

Not available
European Environment Agency (EEA)
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