Red List habitat classification > RLE - Grasslands > RLE1.3b Mediterranean tall perennial dry grassland

Mediterranean tall perennial dry grassland

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLE1.3b
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)


The habitat type includes mainly basophilous, xerophytic, tall, tufted, dense or short open grasslands (pseudosteppes) with a wide Mediterranean distribution. They are dominated by plant species which are adapted to the xerothermic climatic conditions, the poor soil conditions and human-made disturbances such as grazing, trampling etc. This habitat type includes several plant communities of dry grasslands, differentiated mostly by the geographical region (western, central or eastern Mediterranean area) and the geological substrate (calcareous, magnesite, dolomite) or the soil types (deep or shallow, sandy, clay or ultramafic soils). Physiognomically, they usually look like steppes even if no Stipa species occur (pseudosteppes). Their floristic composition can be fairly differentiated depending on specific communities, but generally they are dominated by grasses such as Lygeum spartum, Brachypodium retusum, Hyparrhenia hirta, Stipa spp. etc. Alien species, adapted to xerothermic conditions, are often found with high abundance, like Opuntia spp. Grazing or other disturbances, such as wildfires, maintain these grasslands, which are – in several cases – the result of the degradation of forests or evergreen shrublands. Invasion by alien species, transformation to agricultural land and urbanization are the major threats for this habitat type.

Indicators of quality:

This habitat type is characterized by steppe-like grasslands. Subsequently, the most important quality indicators are: (a) dominance of grass species, (b) absence or very low cover of nitrophilous or alien species, (c) no signs of primary succession (e.g. encroachment of chamaephytes or shrub species), (d) presence of properly adjusted, extensive grazing, (e) absence of indications of significant, crevice-like, erosion. 

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

The habitat has been assigned to the category Least Concern (LC) both for EU28 and EU28+. It covers a large area, as it is extended all over the Mediterranean region, and it has only been reduced by 3% in the last decades. As regards reduction in quality, 7% of its area has suffered degradation with a severity of 40%. So, although it cannot be assigned in any category of threat, the application of light conservation measures in the future, such as the maintenance of extensive grazing in many areas and the control of urbanization and disturbances especially in coastal areas and islands should be considered.
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

  • Agriculture
    • Modification of cultivation practices
    • Grassland removal for arable land
    • Abandonment of pastoral systems, lack of grazing
  • Sylviculture, forestry
    • Forest planting on open ground
  • Urbanisation, residential and commercial development
    • Urbanised areas, human habitation
  • Natural biotic and abiotic processes (without catastrophes)
    • Species composition change (succession)

Habitat restoration potential

These grasslands grow on many types of soils, but as they occur in dry climates, their degradation is often caused by soil erosion and thus their restoration may need very long time, depending on the degree of erosion. If the habitat degradation is due to management abandonment and the consequent shrub encroachment, it can be restored by the re-introduction of traditional forms of extensive grazing.

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Stable Stable
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Stable Decreasing
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

The maintenance of traditional silvopastoral systems is very important for the conservation of this habitat. Extensive grazing is a basic feature of these systems, and management practices should focus on this key factor. In regions where these grasslands are more endangered their change to arable lands and tree plantations should be minimized.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to agriculture and open habitats
    • Maintaining grasslands and other open habitats
  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Establish protected areas/sites
    • Legal protection of habitats and species
    • 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)
Croatia Present 301 Decreasing Decreasing
Cyprus Present Unknownn Unknown Unknown
France mainland Present Unknownn Decreasing Unknown
Corsica Present Unknownn Decreasing Unknown
Greece (mainland and other islands) Present 520 Unknown Unknown
Crete Present 520 Unknown Unknown
East Aegean Present 520 Unknown Unknown
Italy mainland Present 1489 Decreasing Decreasing
Sardinia Present 1489 Decreasing Decreasing
Sicily Present 1489 Decreasing Decreasing
Malta Present Unknownn Unknown Unknown
Portugal mainland Present 121 Unknown Decreasing
Madeira Present 121 Unknown Decreasing
Savage Islands Uncertain 121 Unknown Decreasing
Spain mainland Present 7882 Decreasing Stable
Balearic Islands Present 7882 Decreasing Stable
Canary Islands Present 7882 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 Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Bosnia and Herzegovina Present 5 Decreasing Decreasing
Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Present 180 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 3797000 6319 10313 The area occupied by the habitat in France is not known
EU28+ 6366 10498 Albania did not sent data
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
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