Red List habitat classification > RLE - Grasslands > RLE1.8 Open Iberian supramediterranean dry acid and neutral grassland

Open Iberian supramediterranean dry acid and neutral grassland

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLE1.8
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

Perennial grasslands formed by hard grasses (Festuca) and small hemicryptophytes and chamaephytes covering shallow soils on siliceous substrata in western Iberian Peninsula, at medium to high elevations (supra-oro levels). The vegetation is closed, covering between 60 to 90 % of the surface, and the dominant species are of low height, with a dense layer of 5 to 10 cm height in which some plants loom above until 20 to 30 cm. Most of the plants present the typical set of morpho-ecological traits of the Mediterranean grasslands, with adaptations to the summer drought, which in this case combine with the nutrient poverty stress. Substrata are varied, from mafic and ultramafic in NE Portugal (Tras os Montes), where the endemic alliance Armerion eriophyllae occurs, to schist in south Spain (Sierra Nevada and Filabres), where the endemic alliance Thymion serpylloidis is found. The main alliance, Hieracio castellani-Plantaginion radicatae is widespread in western Iberia and develops on sandy soils derived from granite, gneiss and sandstone. Soils are dry, lacking any hydromorphic properties, and have a limited development of the edaphic layers. As they cover rocky outcrops or eroded substrata, soils can be qualified as rocky lithosols, having primary stations in outcrops and secondary ones in eroded places. Usually this habitat type is distributed forming a mosaic pattern with others, such as Nardus grasslands (E1.7a) or vallicares (E2.4), forming part of the seral communities complex replacing pine or oak forests. These grasslands have been traditionally grazed, mostly by sheep, in a system of a comprehensive utilization of the available resources valid in the traditional husbandry system existed so far. A large number of Iberian endemic species constitute the core of this type, with a high representation of Plumbaginaceae (Armeria), Caryophyllaceae and Festuca sp. pl.

Indicators of good quality:

These grasslands are in a good condition if they show a low height and a high cover, not necessarily of 100%, without woody plants of the more developed stages in succession such as shrubs or trees. Signals of moderate grazing are also acceptable. Artificial conifer plantations should be absent.

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 and its distribution (AOO) and range extent (EOO) are not very restricted.
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
    • Abandonment of pastoral systems, lack of grazing
  • Sylviculture, forestry
    • Forest planting on open ground
    • Artificial planting on open ground (non-native trees)
  • Urbanisation, residential and commercial development
    • Urbanised areas, human habitation

Habitat restoration potential

The most frequent degradation of this habitat type is due to shrub and tree encroachement. With human intervention (fire and maintenance of sheep grazing) this damage can be rather quickly recovered. If damage is due to erosion and construction of infrastructures, the recovery will take longer, at least 50 years with human intervention.

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 maintenance of traditional silvopastoral systems has been very important for the conservation of this habitat. Extensive grazing is a basic feature, and management should be focused on this key factor. Protection areas are also important, and pine plantation and urbanization should be restricted in these areas.

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)
Portugal mainland Present 300 Unknown Increasing
Spain mainland Present 928 Decreasing 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)

Extent of Occurrence, Area of Occupancy and habitat area

Extent of Occurrence (EOO) (Km2) Area of Occupancy (AOO) Current estimated Total Area Comment
EU28 357000 597 1228
EU28+ 597 1228
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 Agrostis truncatula
Flowering Plants Arenaria querioides
Flowering Plants Armeria eriophylla
Flowering Plants Armeria odorata
Flowering Plants Armeria vestita
Flowering Plants Centaurea borjae
Flowering Plants Festuca brigantina
Flowering Plants Plantago radicata
Flowering Plants Sagina merinoi
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Agrostis truncatula Flowering Plants
Arenaria querioides Flowering Plants
Armeria eriophylla Flowering Plants
Armeria odorata Flowering Plants
Armeria vestita Flowering Plants
Centaurea borjae Flowering Plants
Festuca brigantina Flowering Plants
Plantago radicata Flowering Plants
Sagina merinoi 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 E1.8 Closed Mediterranean dry acid and neutral grassland same
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