Red List habitat classification > RLC - Freshwater habitats > RLC2.2a Permanent non-tidal, fast, turbulent watercourse of montane to alpine regions with mosses

Permanent non-tidal, fast, turbulent watercourse of montane to alpine regions with mosses

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLC2.2a
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)


This habitat type includes small, shallow, fast-running and turbulent streams of montane and alpine regions of Europe. The water is highly oxygenated and rather cold during all seasons with temperatures rarely higher than 10°C in summer. The sediments consist almost exclusively of rocks and boulders, because the fast current does not allow the deposition of finer sediments. Vascular plants can occasionally occur in this habitat, especially in those parts of the riverbed where the current is slower and there is temporary accumulation of finer sediments. However no stable vascular plant community can be considered typical of this habitat type. Therefore the habitat does not include any vascular plant alliances, instead, lichens and bryophyte communities with high moss abundance are very characteristic of this habitat. The lichen and bryophytic vegetation is usually rather low in species number, on the contrary the fauna can be very rich including mainly stenothermic species of rheophile fauna.

Indicators of good quality:

  • Occurrence of stenothermic and rheophile fauna
  • High water velocity
  • Thin layer of algae covering the rocks, a thick layer of algae could be symptom of eutrophication in place
  • Absence of fine and organic sediments
  • Dominance of aquatic lichens and mosses
  • Natural hydrology

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

A full quantitative assessment of the decline in abiotic and biotic quality and quantity was not possible for this habitat. Despite, the assessment according to criterion A1 (trends in quantity over 50 years) and criterion B (restricted geography) resulted to be Least Concern (LC), but the assessment has a relatively low certainty due to large data gaps.
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Least Concern -
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Least Concern -

Confidence in the assessment

Red List of habitat categories and criteria descriptions

Pressures and threats

  • Mining, extraction of materials and energy production
    • Sand and gravel extraction
  • Pollution
    • Pollution to surface waters (limnic, terrestrial, marine & brackish)
    • Diffuse pollution to surface waters due to agricultural and forestry activities
    • Diffuse pollution to surface waters due to household sewage and waste waters
    • Input of contaminants (synthetic substances, non-synthetic substances, radionuclides) - diffuse sources, point sources, acute events
  • Natural System modifications
    • Canalisation & water deviation
    • Modifying structures of inland water courses
    • Reservoirs
    • Small hydropower projects, weirs
    • Surface water abstractions by hydro-energy
    • Other human induced changes in hydraulic conditions
  • Climate change
    • Changes in abiotic conditions
    • Temperature changes (e.g. rise of temperature & extremes)

Habitat restoration potential

When the habitat is severely damaged, it takes a long time period to restore it. Restoring hydrology might not always be possible. Rises in temperature might not be overcome and might be deleterious to the stenothermic fauna.

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

Current restoration measures consist of improving the hydrological regime and restoring water quality. Other measures needed for limiting the eutrophication may be regulating farming and agriculture in proximity of the streams and in the areas upstream. Institution of protected areas may be in some cases a good strategy for managing the land use.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to agriculture and open habitats
    • Other agriculture-related measures
  • 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
    • Manage landscape features


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 Unknown Decreasing Decreasing
Bulgaria Present Unknown Decreasing Decreasing
Germany Present 1 Decreasing Decreasing
Italy mainland Present 22.9 Decreasing Decreasing
Sardinia Present 22.9 Decreasing Decreasing
Sicily Present 22.9 Decreasing Decreasing
France mainland Present Unknown Decreasing Stable
Corsica Uncertain Unknown Decreasing Stable
Slovenia Present 5 Decreasing Decreasing
Finland mainland Present 68 Stable Stable
Aland Islands Uncertain 68 Stable Stable
Croatia Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Romania Present 0.3 Decreasing Unknown
Spain mainland Present 64 Unknown Decreasing
Balearic Islands Uncertain 64 Unknown Decreasing
Canary Islands Uncertain 64 Unknown Decreasing
United Kingdom Present Unknown Decreasing Stable
Northern Island Uncertain Unknown Decreasing Stable
Gibraltar Uncertain Unknown Decreasing Stable
Czech Republic Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Ireland Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Luxembourg Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Malta Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Poland Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Sweden Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Portugal mainland Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Slovakia Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
EU28 + Present or presence uncertain Current area of habitat (Km2) Recent trend in quantity (last 50 years) Recent trend in quality (last 50 years)
Switzerland Present Unknown Decreasing Decreasing
Bosnia and Herzegovina Present 10 Decreasing Decreasing
Albania Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Andorra Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
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 Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Kosovo Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Liechtestein Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Monaco Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Montenegro Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Norway Mainland Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Svalbard Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Serbia Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Vatican City Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) 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 5238400 407 161 This is the area in 6 out of 12 countries
EU28+ 426 171 This is the area in 7 out of 12 countries
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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