Red List habitat classification > RLC - Freshwater habitats > RLC3.5c Periodically exposed saline shore with pioneer or ephemeral vegetation

Periodically exposed saline shore with pioneer or ephemeral vegetation

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLC3.5c
Threat status
Europe Endangered
EU Endangered
Relation to
Source European Red List habitat factsheet
European Red List of habitats reports
European Red List of habitats (Excel table)

Summary

The habitat includes periodically flooded, saline and muddy, nutrient-rich shores and dried-up bottoms of saline standing water bodies, with low to moderate cover of short salt-adapted plant species, mostly from the Poaceae and Cyperaceae families. These include mainly annual plants, developing during the exposure phase, as well as perennial plants tolerant to temporary total flooding and brackish conditions. Typically the habitat is dominated by dwarf-grasses of the genus Crypsis (including Heleochloa).

The habitat is distributed over lowlands of the continental parts of Europe and arid Mediterranean regions. These ephemeral communities develop mostly on the bottom of small temporary brackish and saline lakes and pools. During the summer the bottom of these water bodies dry-up, colouring white from the salts. The vegetation often starts to grow only in the end of summer or in autumn. Besides, the habitat type occurs on riverbanks of some large rivers, like the Danube and Sava, in regions with a continental climate where there are some processes of salinization. The same plant communities can temporary occur in some artificial localities, such as fishponds, dams, or abandoned and flooded fields.

The dominant species in the continental regions (e.g. the Pannonian basin and adjacent territories) are Crypsis alopecuroides, Crypsis (Heleochloa) schoenoides, Crypsis (Heleochloa) aculeata, Cyperus (Acorellus) pannonicus and  Polypogon monspeliensis. These species are accompanied by annual and some perennial species from the class Bidentetea tripartiate (habitat C3.5a), while also transitions towards saline inland marshes and steppes (classes Festuco-Puccinellietea, Thero-Salicornietea; habitats E6.1, E6.2, E6.3) are found. Ephemeral communities with Salicornia ssp. in general are found on less eutrophic sites, often with higher salinity. In the Mediterranean region the communities of the alliance Verbenion supinae are by most authors considered part of the class Isoeto-Nanojuncetea (habitat C3.5b), but in some communities of this alliance the species of Crypsis are a characteristic species. Here they grow together with Chenopodium chenopodioides, Fimbristylis bisumbellata, Glinus lotoides, Polypogon maritimus, Heliotropium supinum, Samolus valerandi, and Verbena supina.

Typically the habitat does not develop during years with less suitable conditions. The areas covered by these communities may vary each year in size and location. Similar plant communities occur along the coast, but in that case they are in most cases considered part of coastal salt marshes (habitat A2.5d) or dune slacks (habitat B1.8b).

Indicators of good quality:

  • Natural relatively high concentration of salt in the soil
  • Natural high electrical conductivity of the water
  • No alteration of the natural salinity range
  • Exotic species absent or rare (e.g. Xanthium spinosum, Paspalum disticum, P. diatatum, Bidens spp.)
  • Absence of emergent plants, shrubs and trees
  • No signs of eutrophication nor dominance of ruderal species
  • No indicator of negative anthropogenic influence (e.g. regulation of the water level, chemical pollution

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

The habitat qualifies as Endangered (EN) under the criteria of decline in area over the last 50 to 60 years. Although this calculation is based on data from only five countries, it is likely that this estimation is accurate, as these countries cover large parts of this rare habitat within the EU28 and EU28+.
EU
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Endangered A1
Europe
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Endangered A1

Confidence in the assessment

medium
Red List of habitat categories and criteria descriptions

Pressures and threats

  • Agriculture
    • Intensive grazing
  • Pollution
    • Pollution to surface waters (limnic, terrestrial, marine & brackish)
  • Natural System modifications
    • Human induced changes in hydraulic conditions
    • Landfill, land reclamation and drying out, general
    • Flooding modifications
    • Modification of hydrographic functioning, general

Habitat restoration potential

Recovery if the characteristic flora has disappeared requires active restoration.

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 following conservation and management actions are relevant for this threatened habitat:Avoid input of freshwater that would modify water (soil) salinity and prevents seasonal dry periods.Avoid embankment, modification of cathment area or water derivation that would result in absence of seasonal flooding caused by sustained rainfalls.Do not compensate the lack of rainfall by water input, since this ecosystem is adapted to variability and unpredictibility in abiotic conditions.Promote extensive grazing, but avoid overgrazing which can also be a cause of degradation of the characteristic flora.Install a high-level Biotope protection wherever this habitat occurs seasonally (destruction remains the major threat to this ecosystem).

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to wetland, freshwater and coastal habitats
    • Restoring/Improving water quality
    • Restoring/Improving the hydrological regime
  • 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)
Austria Present 12.5 Decreasing Decreasing
Bulgaria Present Unknown Decreasing Decreasing
France mainland Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Corsica Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Hungary Present 13 Decreasing Decreasing
Italy mainland Present Unknown Decreasing Decreasing
Sardinia Present Unknown Decreasing Decreasing
Sicily Present Unknown Decreasing Decreasing
Slovakia Present 0.0001 Decreasing Decreasing
Germany Present Marginal Unknown Unknown
Romania Present Unknown Decreasing Decreasing
Spain mainland Present 9.5 Stable Decreasing
Croatia Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Greece (mainland and other islands) Uncertain Unknown Unknown Stable
Crete Uncertain Unknown Unknown Stable
East Aegean Uncertain Unknown Unknown Stable
Malta Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Portugal mainland Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Slovenia Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Sweden Uncertain 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)
Bosnia and Herzegovina Present 4 Decreasing Decreasing
Albania Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Kosovo Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Montenegro Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Serbia Present 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 2419450 214 35
EU28+ 222 37
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.
Flowering Plants Centaurium pulchellum
Flowering Plants Chenopodium chenopodioides
Flowering Plants Chenopodium glaucum
Flowering Plants Coronopus squamatus
Flowering Plants Corrigiola telephiifolia
Flowering Plants Cressa cretica
Flowering Plants Crypsis aculeata
Flowering Plants Crypsis alopecuroides
Flowering Plants Cyperus flavescens
Flowering Plants Digitaria debilis
Flowering Plants Eleocharis carniolica
Flowering Plants Euphorbia chamaesyce
Flowering Plants Fimbristylis bisumbellata
Flowering Plants Glinus lotoides
Flowering Plants Heliotropium supinum
Flowering Plants Juncus articulatus
Flowering Plants Lepidium latifolium
Flowering Plants Lotus tenuis
Flowering Plants Panicum debile
Flowering Plants Paspalum distichum
Flowering Plants Peplis portula
Flowering Plants Persicaria lapathifolia
Flowering Plants Polypogon maritimus
Flowering Plants Polypogon monspeliensis
Flowering Plants Pulicaria paludosa
Flowering Plants Pulicaria sicula
Flowering Plants Samolus valerandi
Flowering Plants Spergularia maritima
Flowering Plants Trifolium fragiferum
Flowering Plants Verbena supina
Flowering Plants Xanthium spinosum
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Centaurium pulchellum Flowering Plants
Chenopodium chenopodioides Flowering Plants
Chenopodium glaucum Flowering Plants
Coronopus squamatus Flowering Plants
Corrigiola telephiifolia Flowering Plants
Cressa cretica Flowering Plants
Crypsis aculeata Flowering Plants
Crypsis alopecuroides Flowering Plants
Cyperus flavescens Flowering Plants
Digitaria debilis Flowering Plants
Eleocharis carniolica Flowering Plants
Euphorbia chamaesyce Flowering Plants
Fimbristylis bisumbellata Flowering Plants
Glinus lotoides Flowering Plants
Heliotropium supinum Flowering Plants
Juncus articulatus Flowering Plants
Lepidium latifolium Flowering Plants
Lotus tenuis Flowering Plants
Panicum debile Flowering Plants
Paspalum distichum Flowering Plants
Peplis portula Flowering Plants
Persicaria lapathifolia Flowering Plants
Polypogon maritimus Flowering Plants
Polypogon monspeliensis Flowering Plants
Pulicaria paludosa Flowering Plants
Pulicaria sicula Flowering Plants
Samolus valerandi Flowering Plants
Spergularia maritima Flowering Plants
Trifolium fragiferum Flowering Plants
Verbena supina Flowering Plants
Xanthium spinosum Flowering Plants

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available
European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100