Red List habitat classification > RLE - Grasslands > RLE5.2b Thermophilous woodland fringe of acidic soils

Thermophilous woodland fringe of acidic soils

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLE5.2b
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)

Summary

These woodland fringes are especially characteristic of semi-shaded habitats along forest margins, overhung road verges and similar places with acidic and nutrient-poor soils. Dominated by bulky grasses and tall herbs, they are not so diverse as the more thermophilous E5.2a woodland fringe occurring on base-rich soils. They reach their optimum development in the cooler Atlantic and Subatlantic parts of Europe and, further east, their species richness gradually diminishes. The typical associated trees in the woodlands are deciduous Quercus spp.Betula spp. and Fagus sylvatica.  Fringe communities are semi-natural habitats, strongly influenced by human activities and where newly established, for example in forest clearings, around plantations and along hedgebanks, some years are needed to develop their characteristic features, above all depending on neighbouring habitats. This kind of fringe can be found in association with mat-grass swards on nutrient-poor soils and heathlands on acidic and humus-rich soils. Towards the Mediterranean region, fringes on acidic and neutral and bedrock can be similar to fringes on basic soils (e.g. in the Lathyro laxiflori-Trifolion velenovskyi). 

To prevent colonisation by shrubs and trees, the vegetation needs to be occasionally mown (for example, every second year) or extensively grazed.

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

  • Absence of complete shade of shrubs and trees
  • Relative richness in apomictic species of Hieracium
  • Irregularly grazed and/or mown
  • Absence of invasive species
  • Low input of nutrients

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

On the basis of available quantitative data and general expert opinion, this habitat is not endangered in either EU28 and EU28+.
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
    • Agricultural intensification
    • Intensive grazing
    • Fertilisation
    • Removal of hedges and copses or scrub
    • Removal of stone walls and embankments
  • Urbanisation, residential and commercial development
    • Continuous urbanisation

Habitat restoration potential

Extensive grazing and - to a lower extent - mowing are prerequisites for safeguarding this habitat type and both intensification and abandonment may disturb the rather subtle balance. When management ceases, succession will lead to the development of shrubland and woodland, with the ultimate loss of these fringe communities.When overgrown with shrubs and trees, cutting of the woody plants and subsequent grazing offers a good chance of recovery of the target communities, within a reasonable time-span.

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Increasing Stable
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Decreasing Decreasing
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

Compared to the woodland fringes on basiphilous soils, these acidophilous fringes house a lower number of endangered and rare species, with the clear exception of the (many) apomicts of the genus Hieracium. However, they can provide a valuable transitional habitat for invertebrates, small passerine birds and small mammals, also interconnecting suitable areas for colonisation.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to agriculture and open habitats
    • Maintaining grasslands and other open habitats
  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • 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)
Austria Present 2 Decreasing Decreasing
Belgium Present unknown Unknown Unknown
Bulgaria Present unknown Stable Increasing
Czech Republic Present 7 Decreasing Decreasing
France mainland Present unknown Unknown Increasing
Germany Present unknown Decreasing Increasing
Hungary Present 3 Decreasing Unknown
Ireland Present unknown Unknown Unknown
Italy mainland Present 29 Decreasing Increasing
Latvia Present 3 Decreasing Unknown
Lithuania Present 4 Unknown Stable
Luxembourg Present unknown Unknown Unknown
Netherlands Present 1 Decreasing Decreasing
Poland Present 8 Unknown Unknown
Romania Present 10 Unknown Increasing
Slovakia Present 0.2 Decreasing Unknown
Spain mainland Present unknown Unknown Stable
Sweden Present unknown Unknown Unknown
United Kingdom Present unknown Unknown Unknown
Portugal mainland Present 74 Unknown Increasing
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 20 Decreasing Decreasing
Kaliningrad Present unknown Unknown Unknown
Montenegro Present unknown Unknown Unknown
Norway Mainland Present unknown Unknown Unknown
Switzerland Present 3 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 >50000 >50 So few quantitative data are suppplied that it is misleading to provide a figure
EU28+ >50 So few quantitative data are supplied that it is misleading to provide a figure
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 capillaris
Flowering Plants Avenella flexuosa
Flowering Plants Betonica officinalis
Flowering Plants Campanula rapunculus
Flowering Plants Centaurea nigra
Flowering Plants Clinopodium vulgare
Flowering Plants Conopodium majus
Flowering Plants Digitalis purpurea
Flowering Plants Fagus sylvatica
Flowering Plants Hieracium lachenalii
Flowering Plants Hieracium murorum
Flowering Plants Hieracium sabaudum
Flowering Plants Hieracium umbellatum
Flowering Plants Holcus mollis
Flowering Plants Hypericum perforatum
Flowering Plants Hypericum pulchrum
Flowering Plants Jasione montana
Flowering Plants Linaria repens
Flowering Plants Melampyrum pratense
Flowering Plants Poa nemoralis
Flowering Plants Potentilla sterilis
Flowering Plants Pulmonaria longifolia
Flowering Plants Rumex acetosella
Flowering Plants Serratula tinctoria
Flowering Plants Solidago virgaurea
Flowering Plants Stellaria holostea
Flowering Plants Teucrium scorodonia
Flowering Plants Veronica chamaedrys
Flowering Plants Veronica officinalis
Flowering Plants Viola riviniana
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Agrostis capillaris Flowering Plants
Avenella flexuosa Flowering Plants
Betonica officinalis Flowering Plants
Campanula rapunculus Flowering Plants
Centaurea nigra Flowering Plants
Clinopodium vulgare Flowering Plants
Conopodium majus Flowering Plants
Digitalis purpurea Flowering Plants
Fagus sylvatica Flowering Plants
Hieracium lachenalii Flowering Plants
Hieracium murorum Flowering Plants
Hieracium sabaudum Flowering Plants
Hieracium umbellatum Flowering Plants
Holcus mollis Flowering Plants
Hypericum perforatum Flowering Plants
Hypericum pulchrum Flowering Plants
Jasione montana Flowering Plants
Linaria repens Flowering Plants
Melampyrum pratense Flowering Plants
Poa nemoralis Flowering Plants
Potentilla sterilis Flowering Plants
Pulmonaria longifolia Flowering Plants
Rumex acetosella Flowering Plants
Serratula tinctoria Flowering Plants
Solidago virgaurea Flowering Plants
Stellaria holostea Flowering Plants
Teucrium scorodonia Flowering Plants
Veronica chamaedrys Flowering Plants
Veronica officinalis Flowering Plants
Viola riviniana 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 E5.2 Thermophile woodland fringes narrower
European Environment Agency (EEA)
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