Red List habitat classification > RLE - Grasslands > RLE1.5b Iberian oromediterranean basiphilous dry grassland

Iberian oromediterranean basiphilous dry grassland

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLE1.5b
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)

Summary

Dwarf vegetation composed of hard leaved grasses (Festuca, Koeleria) and other ligneous plants which form a grassy scrub on calcareous thin rocky soils. Depending on the association involved, the grassland-scrub can be dominated by grasses (Festuca sp. pl.), or by other ligneous plants. The vegetation completely covers the soil surface or leaves up to 40 % of bare soil, depending on the rocky character of the soil, but also on the freezing-thawing cycle (geliturbation, gelifluction) which takes place in this habitat.

The habitat type is found in Mediterranean mountains, at upper supra-oro-cryoro levels, of the Iberian Peninsula, Pyrenees, French Massif Central and Alps Maritimes - Ligurian Alps, between 1300 to 2500 m. Here the grasslands are found under submediterranean high mountain climatic conditions, with a short summer drought, and severe low winter temperatures, as they are poorly protected by snow (they are covered by a thin layer of snow or even remain snow-free in winter).

The habitat is very rich in endemic species, probably due to its calcareous soils and its extreme environmental conditions. Succession towards taller vegetation types is prevented by extreme environmental conditions in the higher altitudes, where those grasslands are often climax communities. At lower altitudes (supra levels) encroachment by shrubs is easier, due to the more mesic conditions and this vegetation may be replaced by succession. The habitat can endure a light grazing pressure (usually sheep) without altering its structure and composition and it used to be grazed in summer during the short growing season.

Indicators of good quality:

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

·      High species richness

·      Presence of endemic species

·      A medium to high vegetation cover

·      Absence of nitrophilic species, linked to human activities

·      No visible anthropic disturbances due to building activities, skiing or intensive trampling

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

The habitat is assigned to the category Least Concern (LC), as it has not substantially decreased in quantity nor in quality over the last 50 years, and its distribution (AOO) and range (EOO) are quite large. Nevertheless, we have to take into account that inside this EOO, the habitat only occurs in wind-exposed slopes of the calcareous mountains and plateaus, with a current estimated total area of only 725 km2.
EU
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Least Concern -
Europe
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Least Concern -

Confidence in the assessment

medium
Red List of habitat categories and criteria descriptions

Pressures and threats

  • Agriculture
    • Grazing
    • Intensive sheep grazing
    • Abandonment of pastoral systems, lack of grazing
  • Sylviculture, forestry
    • Forest planting on open ground
    • Artificial planting on open ground (non-native trees)
  • Human intrusions and disturbances
    • Sport and leisure structures
    • Skiing complex
  • Natural System modifications
    • Fire and fire suppression

Habitat restoration potential

In the higher elevations, the extreme climatic conditions make it very difficult the recovery of the habitat once it has been seriously damaged. If damage is related to soil erosion due to intense trampling, the habitat needs a long time to recover, which can be facilitated through human intervention. If damage is related to climate change and consequent invasion of species from loweraltitudes, the diagnostic species will dissapear in the long term and thus future recovery of the habitat will not be possible.

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Stable Stable
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Decreasing Decreasing
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

The conservation of this habitat involves the maintenance of low intensity sheep grazing and the minimization of the impact of leisure activities. The disturbance created by the latter can facilitate the arrival of ruderal species, which is also facilitated by changing climatic conditions. Plantation of conifers should be avoided.

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

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)
France mainland Present 257 Decreasing Stable
Italy mainland Present Unknown Decreasing Decreasing
Spain mainland Present 468 Unknown 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)

Extent of Occurrence, Area of Occupancy and habitat area

Extent of Occurrence (EOO) (Km2) Area of Occupancy (AOO) Current estimated Total Area Comment
EU28 293300 245 725 No quantitative data from Italy
EU28+ 245 725
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.
Conifers Narcissus assoanus
Flowering Plants Androsace vitaliana
Flowering Plants Anthyllis montana
Flowering Plants Arenaria aggregata
Flowering Plants Arenaria erinacea
Flowering Plants Artemisia pedemontana
Flowering Plants Asperula pyrenaica
Flowering Plants Astragalus cavanillesii
Flowering Plants Astragalus sempervirens
Flowering Plants Astragalus tremolsianus
Flowering Plants Brimeura amethystina
Flowering Plants Carex humilis
Flowering Plants Centaurea jaennensis
Flowering Plants Centaurea podospermifolia
Flowering Plants Crepis albida
Flowering Plants Cytisus ardoinii
Flowering Plants Draba cantabriae
Flowering Plants Erodium cazorlanum
Flowering Plants Erodium daucoides
Flowering Plants Erodium foetidum
Flowering Plants Erysimum humile
Flowering Plants Erysimum seipkae
Flowering Plants Euphorbia duvalii
Flowering Plants Festuca burnatii
Flowering Plants Festuca dimorpha
Flowering Plants Festuca hystrix
Flowering Plants Festuca nevadensis
Flowering Plants Festuca reverchonii
Flowering Plants Genista delphinensis
Flowering Plants Genista lobelii
Flowering Plants Genista villarsii
Flowering Plants Gentiana clusii
Flowering Plants Globularia cordifolia
Flowering Plants Globularia punctata
Flowering Plants Helictotrichon sedenense
Flowering Plants Helictotrichon sempervirens
Flowering Plants Iberis saxatilis
Flowering Plants Leucanthemum burnatii
Flowering Plants Leucanthemum graminifolium
Flowering Plants Linaria aeruginea
Flowering Plants Ononis cristata
Flowering Plants Ononis striata
Flowering Plants Onosma fastigiata
Flowering Plants Oreochloa confusa
Flowering Plants Plantago argentea
Flowering Plants Saponaria caespitosa
Flowering Plants Saxifraga conifera
Flowering Plants Sempervivum calcareum
Flowering Plants Senecio doronicum
Flowering Plants Sesleria caerulea
Flowering Plants Sideritis hyssopifolia
Flowering Plants Stipa eriocaulis
Flowering Plants Thymelaea nivalis
Flowering Plants Thymus willkommii
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Narcissus assoanus Conifers
Androsace vitaliana Flowering Plants
Anthyllis montana Flowering Plants
Arenaria aggregata Flowering Plants
Arenaria erinacea Flowering Plants
Artemisia pedemontana Flowering Plants
Asperula pyrenaica Flowering Plants
Astragalus cavanillesii Flowering Plants
Astragalus sempervirens Flowering Plants
Astragalus tremolsianus Flowering Plants
Brimeura amethystina Flowering Plants
Carex humilis Flowering Plants
Centaurea jaennensis Flowering Plants
Centaurea podospermifolia Flowering Plants
Crepis albida Flowering Plants
Cytisus ardoinii Flowering Plants
Draba cantabriae Flowering Plants
Erodium cazorlanum Flowering Plants
Erodium daucoides Flowering Plants
Erodium foetidum Flowering Plants
Erysimum humile Flowering Plants
Erysimum seipkae Flowering Plants
Euphorbia duvalii Flowering Plants
Festuca burnatii Flowering Plants
Festuca dimorpha Flowering Plants
Festuca hystrix Flowering Plants
Festuca nevadensis Flowering Plants
Festuca reverchonii Flowering Plants
Genista delphinensis Flowering Plants
Genista lobelii Flowering Plants
Genista villarsii Flowering Plants
Gentiana clusii Flowering Plants
Globularia cordifolia Flowering Plants
Globularia punctata Flowering Plants
Helictotrichon sedenense Flowering Plants
Helictotrichon sempervirens Flowering Plants
Iberis saxatilis Flowering Plants
Leucanthemum burnatii Flowering Plants
Leucanthemum graminifolium Flowering Plants
Linaria aeruginea Flowering Plants
Ononis cristata Flowering Plants
Ononis striata Flowering Plants
Onosma fastigiata Flowering Plants
Oreochloa confusa Flowering Plants
Plantago argentea Flowering Plants
Saponaria caespitosa Flowering Plants
Saxifraga conifera Flowering Plants
Sempervivum calcareum Flowering Plants
Senecio doronicum Flowering Plants
Sesleria caerulea Flowering Plants
Sideritis hyssopifolia Flowering Plants
Stipa eriocaulis Flowering Plants
Thymelaea nivalis Flowering Plants
Thymus willkommii Flowering Plants

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 E1.5 Mediterranean-montane grassland narrower
European Environment Agency (EEA)
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