Red List habitat classification > RLE - Grasslands > RLE3.2b Mediterranean short moist grassland of mountains

Mediterranean short moist grassland of mountains

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLE3.2b
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)


High mountain evergreen pastures of the western Mediterranean dominated by tussocky grasses such as Nardus stricta and Festuca microphylla (= Festuca nigrescens subsp. microphylla), located in moist places such as depressions experiencing long-lasting snow cover and even a certain water stagnation. The vegetation cover is near to closed with the grasses forming a continuous sward.  As they remain green and productive during summer, those meadows constitute an important resource for the transhumant flocks of sheep and cows which spend the summer at high altitudes.  In the Sierra Nevada these grasslands are called borreguiles, derived from borrego, sheep, while in the rest of the areas receive the name of cervunales. This name is derived from the pasto cervuno or cebruno, the Spanish name of Nardus stricta, as it was the main grass which was the pasture of an extint Iberian endemic equidae, called Zebro (Equus hydruntinus).

The grasslands occur in the central and southern Iberian siliceous mountains of the Cordillera Central, Sierra Nevada and northern Iberian System, extending to the neighboring North African mountains of the Rif and Atlas.  They also occur in the high mountains of Corsica on slightly drier sites than the D2.2b Relict mires of Medi-terranean mountains dominated by Carex intricata.

Indicators of good quality:

  • Closed carpet-like sward without open soil patches due to intensive grazing or trampling

  • Dominance of grasses, such as Nardus or Festuca, combined with an even representation of the other herbaceous species

  • Absence of nitrophilous species indicative of very heavy grazing pressure

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

What little detailed information is available suggests that this habitat is stable in both quantity and quality.
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
    • Grazing
    • Abandonment of pastoral systems, lack of grazing
  • Human intrusions and disturbances
    • Outdoor sports and leisure activities, recreational activities
    • Skiing, off-piste
  • Climate change
    • Droughts and less precipitations

Habitat restoration potential

Restoration depends greatly on the feasibility of restoring the distinctive hydrological conditions at high altitude in the face of a changing climate.

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Stable Stable
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Stable Stable
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

Continuation of traditional grazing is the most important conservation activity.

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


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 23 Unknown Increasing
Spain mainland Present 526 Stable Stable
Corsica Present 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)

Extent of Occurrence, Area of Occupancy and habitat area

Extent of Occurrence (EOO) (Km2) Area of Occupancy (AOO) Current estimated Total Area Comment
EU28 596700 409 549 Over 95% of this habitat is in Spain and we have no data from Corsica.
EU28+ 409 unknown
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
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