Red List habitat classification > RLE - Grasslands > RLE1.1b Cryptogam- and annual-dominated vegetation on siliceous rock outcrops

Cryptogam- and annual-dominated vegetation on siliceous rock outcrops

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLE1.1b
Threat status
Europe Vulnerable
EU Vulnerable
Relation to
Source European Red List habitat factsheet
European Red List of habitats reports
European Red List of habitats (Excel table)

Summary

These open pioneer grasslands occur on shallow soils (Leptosols) at rock outcrops, on eroded slopes, or in disturbed patches within dry or mesic grasslands. Stands are usually of limited extent, in many cases occupying just a few square metres. This vegetation is dominated by vernal therophytes of the genera Cerastium, Myosotis, Veronica and others and succulent plants of the genera Sedum or Sempervivum (inclusive Jovibarba). Hemicryptophytes are also common, especially the narrow-leaved tussock-forming species of Festuca and several xerophilous Poa species, but they are not the dominant component of this vegetation, except for some short-growing species such as Scleranthus perennis. Geophytes such as Gagea sp. pl. also occur in places. The richness of therophytes and geophytes increases when moving from northern and western to southeastern Europe. Bryophytes and lichens are also common and they can attain a very high cover in some places. Mosses are represented for example by Ceratodon purpureus, Polytrichum piliferum and Syntrichia ruralis agg., lichens by Cetraria aculeata, Cladonia sp. pl. and Xanthoparmelia sp. pl.

Shallow soils supporting this vegetation are well drained and dry out quickly, especially during summer periods of warm weather. Therefore vegetation has its phenological optimum in spring when moisture is still available due to lower evaporation rates. Most therophytes complete their life cycle within a short period of a few weeks prior to the peak of the seasonal development of hemicryptophytes, which helps them avoid competition for light. In contrast, most succulents are perennial and adapted to enduring summer drought period. However, they are more sensitive to disturbance, therefore more disturbed sites tend to contain more therophytes and less disturbed sites more succulents.

This vegetation is distributed throughout temperate and boreal Europe, but it is rarely found in extensive stands. It occurs across a broad altitudinal range from the lowlands to the subalpine belt. The type corresponds to the phytosociological order Sedo-Scleranthetalia, including the Sedo-Poetalia glaucae, which is by some authors separated as an order that occurs from the middle boreal to the arctic zone. Phytosociological literature distinguishes several alliances confined to different European regions, which are geographical vicariants with distinct species composition. A specific subtype of this habitat is found in the supratemperate, very humid belt of Madeira (over 1400 m a.s.l.), where Thymus micans dominates open pioneer communities on shallow soils and rocks, derived from hard volcanic substrate. Another specific subtype occurs on and around acidic outcrops in middle and northern Fennoscandia and Iceland (the Veronico-Poion glaucae).

Indicators of good quality:

These grasslands are confined to stressed or disturbed sites. Due to their small spatial extent, individual stands can be entirely destroyed, but they can regenerate if suitable conditions return. Sites on the rock outcrops near lookout points can be negatively affected through frequent trampling by tourists. On the other hand, disturbance-dependent stands occurring in patches among closed grasslands may become overgrown by tall perennial species if disturbance (e.g. grazing) ceases. Therophytes typical of this vegetation can also occur in human-made habitats such as roadsides, railway banks or quarries, where they form communities with ruderal and nutrient demanding species; such sites are not included in this habitat type and are of lower conservation interest.

The following characteristics can be considered as indicators of good quality:

·      Long-term habitat stability

·      High species richness of therophytes and succulents

·      Occurrence of rare species

·      Dependence on naturally stressful conditions or natural disturbance rather than human-induced disturbance

·      Absence of tall, nutrient-demanding and ruderal species

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

Based on both the short-term reduction in quantity of 37% and the long-term reduction of 51%, the habitat is assessed as vulnerable (VU) in both EU28 and EU28+.
EU
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Vulnerable A1, A3
Europe
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Vulnerable A1, A3

Confidence in the assessment

medium
Red List of habitat categories and criteria descriptions

Pressures and threats

  • Agriculture
    • Abandonment of pastoral systems, lack of grazing
  • Mining, extraction of materials and energy production
    • Mining and quarrying
  • Urbanisation, residential and commercial development
    • Urbanised areas, human habitation
  • Pollution
    • Nitrogen-input
  • Natural biotic and abiotic processes (without catastrophes)
    • Biocenotic evolution, succession

Habitat restoration potential

Degraded semi-natural (e.g. in former pasture systems) and anthropogenic stands (e.g. wall tops; railway gravel) can be restored by re-installing the former grazing system and/or cutting down woody encroachment inside the habitat (and in its surrounding, if it throws shadow on the site).
Natural and and semi-natural sites that have been degraded by quarrying or leisure activities can recover themselves when the negative impact has stopped, but this will take considerable time.

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

Generally, continuation of low-intensity grazing is the recommended measure. However, the majority of stands is rather stable also without management.

List of conservation and management needs

  • No measures
    • No measures needed for the conservation of the habitat/species
  • Measures related to agriculture and open habitats
    • Maintaining grasslands and other open habitats

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 10 Decreasing Decreasing
Bulgaria Present 88 Decreasing Stable
Croatia Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Czech Republic Present 19 Decreasing Decreasing
Finland mainland Present 5 Decreasing Decreasing
Aland Islands Uncertain 5 Decreasing Decreasing
France mainland Present 125 Decreasing Decreasing
Corsica Uncertain 125 Decreasing Decreasing
Germany Present 7 Decreasing Decreasing
Greece (mainland and other islands) Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Hungary Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Ireland Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Italy mainland Present 141 Decreasing Stable
Sardinia Uncertain 141 Decreasing Stable
Sicily Uncertain 141 Decreasing Stable
Lithuania Present 2 Decreasing Decreasing
Luxembourg Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Poland Present Unknown Stable Decreasing
Portugal mainland Present 0.34 Unknown Decreasing
Romania Present 0.2 Stable Stable
Slovakia Present 0.45 Decreasing Stable
Slovenia Present 0.05 Stable Stable
Spain mainland Present 647 Unknown Stable
Balearic Islands Uncertain 647 Unknown Stable
Sweden Present 80 Decreasing Decreasing
United Kingdom Present 120 Decreasing Unknown
Northern Island Uncertain 120 Decreasing Unknown
Portugal Azores Uncertain 0.34 Unknown Decreasing
Madeira Present 0.34 Unknown 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 Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Andorra Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Bosnia and Herzegovina Present 5 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
Kosovo Present Unknown Decreasing Stable
Liechtestein Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Monaco Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Montenegro Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Norway Mainland Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Svalbard Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Jan Mayen Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
San Marino Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Serbia Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Switzerland Present 5 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 10876150 5568 650
EU28+ 8319 800
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 Aira caryophyllea
Flowering Plants Aira praecox
Flowering Plants Anthoxanthum odoratum
Flowering Plants Anthyllis vulneraria
Flowering Plants Arabidopsis thaliana
Flowering Plants Arenaria serpyllifolia
Flowering Plants Campanula rotundifolia
Flowering Plants Cardaminopsis petraea
Flowering Plants Cerastium glutinosum
Flowering Plants Deschampsia flexuosa
Flowering Plants Dianthus deltoides
Flowering Plants Dianthus pinifolius
Flowering Plants Draba daurica
Flowering Plants Echium vulgare
Flowering Plants Erigeron politus
Flowering Plants Erophila verna
Flowering Plants Erysimum hieracifolium
Flowering Plants Festuca ovina
Flowering Plants Gagea bohemica
Flowering Plants Galeopsis bifida
Flowering Plants Galium normanii
Flowering Plants Hieracium alpinum
Flowering Plants Hieracium pilosella
Flowering Plants Hypericum perforatum
Flowering Plants Jasione heldreichii
Flowering Plants Jasione montana
Flowering Plants Lappula deflexa
Flowering Plants Lotus corniculatus
Flowering Plants Lychnis alpina
Flowering Plants Micropyrum tenellum
Flowering Plants Myosotis ramosissima
Flowering Plants Myosotis stricta
Flowering Plants Poa alpina
Flowering Plants Poa bulbosa
Flowering Plants Poa glauca
Flowering Plants Poa nemoralis
Flowering Plants Poa perconcinna
Flowering Plants Poa xerophila
Flowering Plants Potentilla argentea
Flowering Plants Potentilla crantzii
Flowering Plants Potentilla nivea
Flowering Plants Potentilla tabernaemontani
Flowering Plants Roegneria borealis
Flowering Plants Rumex acetosella
Flowering Plants Saxifraga adscendens
Flowering Plants Saxifraga oppositifolia
Flowering Plants Scleranthus perennis
Flowering Plants Sedum acre
Flowering Plants Sedum album
Flowering Plants Sedum anglicum
Flowering Plants Sedum annuum
Flowering Plants Sedum brevifolium
Flowering Plants Sedum pyrenaicum
Flowering Plants Sedum rupestre
Flowering Plants Sedum sexangulare
Flowering Plants Sempervivum arachnoideum
Flowering Plants Sempervivum montanum
Flowering Plants Silene rupestris
Flowering Plants Solidago virgaurea
Flowering Plants Thymus micans
Flowering Plants Trifolium arvense
Flowering Plants Veronica dillenii
Flowering Plants Veronica fruticans
Flowering Plants Veronica verna
Fungi Cladonia arbuscula
Fungi Cladonia foliacea
Fungi Cladonia furcata
Fungi Cladonia pyxidata
Fungi Thamnolia vermicularis
Mosses & Liverworts Ceratodon purpureus
Mosses & Liverworts Hypnum cupressiforme
Mosses & Liverworts Pleurozium schreberi
Mosses & Liverworts Pohlia nutans
Mosses & Liverworts Polytrichum juniperinum
Mosses & Liverworts Polytrichum piliferum
Mosses & Liverworts Racomitrium canescens
Mosses & Liverworts Syntrichia ruralis
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Aira caryophyllea Flowering Plants
Aira praecox Flowering Plants
Anthoxanthum odoratum Flowering Plants
Anthyllis vulneraria Flowering Plants
Arabidopsis thaliana Flowering Plants
Arenaria serpyllifolia Flowering Plants
Campanula rotundifolia Flowering Plants
Cardaminopsis petraea Flowering Plants
Cerastium glutinosum Flowering Plants
Deschampsia flexuosa Flowering Plants
Dianthus deltoides Flowering Plants
Dianthus pinifolius Flowering Plants
Draba daurica Flowering Plants
Echium vulgare Flowering Plants
Erigeron politus Flowering Plants
Erophila verna Flowering Plants
Erysimum hieracifolium Flowering Plants
Festuca ovina Flowering Plants
Gagea bohemica Flowering Plants
Galeopsis bifida Flowering Plants
Galium normanii Flowering Plants
Hieracium alpinum Flowering Plants
Hieracium pilosella Flowering Plants
Hypericum perforatum Flowering Plants
Jasione heldreichii Flowering Plants
Jasione montana Flowering Plants
Lappula deflexa Flowering Plants
Lotus corniculatus Flowering Plants
Lychnis alpina Flowering Plants
Micropyrum tenellum Flowering Plants
Myosotis ramosissima Flowering Plants
Myosotis stricta Flowering Plants
Poa alpina Flowering Plants
Poa bulbosa Flowering Plants
Poa glauca Flowering Plants
Poa nemoralis Flowering Plants
Poa perconcinna Flowering Plants
Poa xerophila Flowering Plants
Potentilla argentea Flowering Plants
Potentilla crantzii Flowering Plants
Potentilla nivea Flowering Plants
Potentilla tabernaemontani Flowering Plants
Roegneria borealis Flowering Plants
Rumex acetosella Flowering Plants
Saxifraga adscendens Flowering Plants
Saxifraga oppositifolia Flowering Plants
Scleranthus perennis Flowering Plants
Sedum acre Flowering Plants
Sedum album Flowering Plants
Sedum anglicum Flowering Plants
Sedum annuum Flowering Plants
Sedum brevifolium Flowering Plants
Sedum pyrenaicum Flowering Plants
Sedum rupestre Flowering Plants
Sedum sexangulare Flowering Plants
Sempervivum arachnoideum Flowering Plants
Sempervivum montanum Flowering Plants
Silene rupestris Flowering Plants
Solidago virgaurea Flowering Plants
Thymus micans Flowering Plants
Trifolium arvense Flowering Plants
Veronica dillenii Flowering Plants
Veronica fruticans Flowering Plants
Veronica verna Flowering Plants
Cladonia arbuscula Fungi
Cladonia foliacea Fungi
Cladonia furcata Fungi
Cladonia pyxidata Fungi
Thamnolia vermicularis Fungi
Ceratodon purpureus Mosses & Liverworts
Hypnum cupressiforme Mosses & Liverworts
Pleurozium schreberi Mosses & Liverworts
Pohlia nutans Mosses & Liverworts
Polytrichum juniperinum Mosses & Liverworts
Polytrichum piliferum Mosses & Liverworts
Racomitrium canescens Mosses & Liverworts
Syntrichia ruralis Mosses & Liverworts

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Other classifications

This habitat may be equivalent to, or broather than, or narrower than the habitats or ecosystems in the following typologies.
Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200711 E1.1 Inland sand and rock with open vegetation narrower
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200711 H3.6 Weathered rock and outcrop habitats overlap
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