Red List habitat classification > RLC - Freshwater habitats > RLC1.2b Mesotrophic to eutrophic waterbody with vascular plants

Mesotrophic to eutrophic waterbody with vascular plants

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLC1.2b
Threat status
Europe Near Threatened
EU Near Threatened
Relation to
Source European Red List habitat factsheet
European Red List of habitats reports
European Red List of habitats (Excel table)


This habitat type includes lakes, pools and stretches of rivers and broad streams with very slow-flowing water, which are naturally mesotrophic to eutrophic. The water is usually clear or brown (humic) with low to moderate concentration of chlorophyll and sediments suspended in the water column. The water is normally buffered to highly buffered and rich in basic ions with a pH typically circumneutral to basic. The sediment is rich in nutrients and might be partially organic and muddy. The habitat supports dense beds of aquatic macrophytes more or less rich in species. Macrophytes can disappear when pollution causes nutrient levels to rise further and the system enters the hypertrophic state. Aquatic macrophyte growth forms include floating and submerged forms. Depending on the water depth, the successional stage and the trophic status these waters can be colonized by communities dominated by nymphaeid species (such as Nymphaea spp., Nuphar lutea, Nymphoides peltata), rooted hydrophytes (Potamogeton spp., Myriphyllum spp., Najas spp., Vallisneria spiralis), freely floating hydrophytes (Ceratophyllum spp., Utricularia spp., Hydrocharis morsus-ranae, Stratiotes aloides and Lemna spp.). Typical of pools and shallow waters are the communities dominated by aquatic species of the genus Ranunculus (syn. Batrachium) and Callitriche.

Most of the species populating this habitat type are critical to phosphorus concentrations in the water. Optimal conditions of this habitat are represented by a high nutrient content in the sediment (in the mesotrophic to eutrophic range) and a low nutrient content in the overlying water (with optimal values of phosphorus below 1 µmol/L over the growing season).

Beds of Nymphaea lotus var. thermalis in their natural distribution area are also part of this habitat. Nymphaea lotus is an East-African and Southeast-Asian species, however N. lotus var. thermalis is endemic to the thermal water of PeÅ£a River in Transylvania, Romenia.

Temporary flooded shores and emergent macrophytes stands are excluded from this habitat type and are instead included in other habitats C3.5a (Periodically exposed shores with stable, mainly eutrophic sediments with pioneer and ephemeral vegetation), C3.5b (Periodically exposed shores with stable, mainly mesotrophic sediments with pioneer and ephemeral vegetation) and C5.1a (Tall helophyte dominated freshwater vegetation), C5.1b (Small helophyte dominated freshwater vegetation).

Indicators of good quality:

  • Dense beds of submerged and floating macrophytes
  • Relatively high species diversity of submerged and floating macrophytes
  • Absence or very low abundance of floating and submerged algae beds (FLAB)
  • Low abundance of emergent species indicators of a process of succession or eutrophication (e.g. Phragmites australis, Typha spp., Sparganium spp., Glyceria maxima, Schoenoplectus spp., etc.)
  • Concentrations of nutrients and chlorophyll naturally in the range of mesotrophy and eutrophy (approximately P 20-100 μg/L and chlorophyll 5-40 μg/L)
  • Absence or very low abundance of exotic invasive species
  • Absence or very low abundance of species indicators of hypertrophic conditions (e.g. Lemna gibba, L. minor, Spirodela polyrhiza, etc.)
  • Not excessive turbidity of the water due to high chlorophyll concentrations and suspended detritus and sediments in the water column
  • pH weakly acid, to circumneutral to alkalinic (usually pH 6-8)
  • No excessive accumulation of organic mud and sediments. Occasionally a layer of detritus may occur in stands with Nymphaeid plants.

Note: Chemical and physical parameters are only indicative, they may change in different geographical area and climatic conditions.

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

This habitat reaches the qualification of Near Threatened both in EU 28 and EU 28+, because of its reduction in quality over the last 50 years on a relatively high extent of the habitat (Criterion C/D1). Also the reduction in quantity in historic time (criterion A3) results in Near Threatened. In this assessment data from Poland are missing, which is considered an important part data gap.
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Near Threatened C/D1
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Near Threatened C/D1

Confidence in the assessment

Red List of habitat categories and criteria descriptions

Pressures and threats

  • Biological resource use other than agriculture & forestry
    • Fishing and harvesting aquatic resources
  • Pollution
    • Diffuse pollution to surface waters due to agricultural and forestry activities
    • Nutrient enrichment (N, P, organic matter)
  • Invasive, other problematic species and genes
    • Invasive non-native species
    • Problematic native species
  • Natural System modifications
    • Human induced changes in hydraulic conditions
    • Modification of hydrographic functioning, general
    • Other human induced changes in hydraulic conditions
  • Climate change
    • Changes in abiotic conditions
    • Changes in biotic conditions

Habitat restoration potential

Experience from North-Western Atlantic and Central Europe shows that aquatic vegetation types occurring in late successional stages are difficult to recreate, and when it is possible it is a long-term effort.

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

The main current approaches to conservation, management and restoration of this habitat are: 1. Restoring the hydrology, included the influence of the groundwater system; 2. Limiting the nutrient input from the surrounding agricultural areas; eutrophication need to be prevented from both surface water and ground water input; 3. Allowing the ecosystems to build up autochthonous organic material and development of succession stages in the vegetation.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to wetland, freshwater and coastal habitats
    • Restoring/Improving water quality
    • Restoring/Improving the hydrological regime
    • Managing water abstraction
  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Establish protected areas/sites
    • Establishing wilderness areas/allowing succession
    • Legal protection of habitats and species
    • Manage landscape features
  • Measures related to hunting, taking and fishing and species management
    • Specific single species or species group management measures
  • Measures related to urban areas, industry, energy and transport
    • Urban and industrial waste management


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)
Austria Present 300 Decreasing Decreasing
Belgium Present 30 Unknown Decreasing
Bulgaria Present 110 Decreasing Decreasing
Croatia Present 35 Decreasing Stable
Cyprus Present 0.05 Stable Stable
Czech Republic Present 255 Decreasing Decreasing
Denmark Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Estonia Present 320 Unknown Stable
Finland mainland Present 540 Decreasing Stable
Aland Islands Uncertain 540 Decreasing Stable
France mainland Present 150 Decreasing Decreasing
Corsica Uncertain 150 Decreasing Decreasing
Germany Present 1030 Decreasing Decreasing
Greece (mainland and other islands) Present 33 Stable Stable
Crete Uncertain 33 Stable Stable
East Aegean Uncertain 33 Stable Stable
Hungary Present 100 Decreasing Increasing
Ireland Present 411 Stable Stable
Italy mainland Present 640 Decreasing Decreasing
Sardinia Present 640 Decreasing Decreasing
Sicily Present 640 Decreasing Decreasing
Latvia Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Lithuania Present 90 Stable Increasing
Luxembourg Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Malta Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Netherlands Present 150 Decreasing Stable
Poland Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Portugal mainland Present 57 Unknown Increasing
Portugal Azores Uncertain 57 Unknown Increasing
Madeira Uncertain 57 Unknown Increasing
Savage Islands Uncertain 57 Unknown Increasing
Romania Present 66 Decreasing Decreasing
Slovakia Present 5 Decreasing Decreasing
Slovenia Present 61 Decreasing Decreasing
Spain mainland Present 84 Decreasing Decreasing
Balearic Islands Uncertain 84 Decreasing Decreasing
Canary Islands Uncertain 84 Decreasing Decreasing
Sweden Present 1176 Decreasing Stable
United Kingdom Present 554 Decreasing Stable
Northern Island Present 554 Decreasing Stable
Gibraltar Present 554 Decreasing Stable
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 Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Andorra Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Bosnia and Herzegovina Present 20 Decreasing Decreasing
Faroe Islands Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Guernsey Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Iceland Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Isle of Man Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Jersey Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Kaliningrad Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Kosovo Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Liechtestein Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Present 0.5 Decreasing Decreasing
Monaco Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Montenegro Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Norway Mainland Present 1600 Decreasing Stable
Svalbard Uncertain 1600 Decreasing Stable
Jan Mayen Uncertain 1600 Decreasing Stable
San Marino Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Serbia Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Switzerland Present 15 Decreasing Stable
Vatican City Present Unknown 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 11343450 11659 7245
EU28+ 11766 8886 The main contribution of EU28+ is from Norway
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

Not available

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Other classifications

Not available
European Environment Agency (EEA)
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1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100