Red List habitat classification > RLE - Grasslands > RLE7.3 Mediterranean wooded pasture and meadow

Mediterranean wooded pasture and meadow

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLE7.3
Threat status
Europe Near Threatened
EU Near Threatened
Relation to
Source European Red List habitat factsheet
European Red List of habitats reports
European Red List of habitats (Excel table)


These are open wooded landscapes created and maintained through traditional grazing, hay-making and woodland (tree) management. Variations in land use and disturbance regime as well as in their abiotic environment make wooded pastures and meadows very diverse and dynamic. Due to their semi-open and patchy character, as well as to their habitat continuity, they accommodate numerous species, many of which are rare and endangered. The species composition and   structure are strongly influenced by the conscious management by the owners/herders. Traditional wooded pastures and wooded meadows express part of the local social and economic history and are therefore of considerable cultural significance. These habitats have a high nature and cultural value and considered as high nature value farmland areas. These are threatened by various factors, most of them related to land-use change.

The Mediterranean wooded pastures and meadows are typical in Spain, Portugal, Greece, South-Italy and South-France, and some parts of the Balkan. These have separated into old-growth wooded pasture; scrub and coppice wooded pasture.  In the western Mediterranean the most extensive wooded pastures are the dehesas (Spain) and montados (Portugal), where scattered evergreen trees coexist with pastures and arable lands. These habitats are dominated by scattered evergreen oaks Quercus ilex, Q. rotundifolia, Q. suber, Q. coccifera, while in other mediterranean wooded pasture are featured by Q.cerris, Q,frainetto, Q. ithaburensis, Q. petraea and Q. pubescens, Castanea sativa, Olea europea, Carpinus orientalis, and Fraxinus ornus.

The shrub layer is characterized by evergreen sclerophyllous bush and scrub (maquis, garrigue, mattoral, phrygana sensu lato) as Retama sphaerocarpa, Cytisus multiflorus, Phillyrea angustifolia, Cistus ladanifer, Cistus creticus, Q. coccifera, Pistacia lentiscus, Lavandula stoechas ssp., Genista hirsuta, Daphne gnidium, Asparagus acutifolius, Fumana sp., Halimium sp., Helianthemum annua, Tuberaria sp.. The herbaceous layer is usually composed of native annual and perennial vegetation (grasses - Lolium, Bromus, Hordeum etc., legumes - clovers, medicagos, serradela [Ornitophus sp.] etc., crucifers) which are used for grazing. Sometimes cultivated cereals (oat, barley, wheat, rye) are grown. Based on the management of the wooded component wooded pastures can be separated into old-growth with or without pollarding or coppice wood and shrub wooded pasture. The old-growth includes Sclerophyllous pastoral woodland, including the dehesa type, of Quercetea ilicis landscapes in Mediterranean Europe and Deciduous pastoral woodland of Quercetea ilicis landscapes in the Mediterranean. Coppice wood and shrub wooded pastures are mainly located in Spain, France, Italy and the Balkans. These types are the following: Grazed macchia/matorral of Quercetea ilicis landscapes in the Mediterranean; Rangeland mosaic with sclerophyllous or mixed scrub of the pseudomacchia type in southern and south-eastern Europe; Low evergreen open scrub-pastures of the garrigue type in Quercetea ilicis landscapes, interspersed with scattered sclerophyllous, coniferous and deciduous shade-giving trees and small groves, in the Mediterranean lowlands and lower mountains; Rangeland mosaic of montane grassland with sclerophyllous broadleaved trees and/or conifers, frequently lopped or pollarded, in the Mediterranean mountains.

Indicators of quality: High presence and abundance of old-growth, veteran trees; Regeneration of tall broad-canopy tree; Regular and deliberate management along with high nature and cultural value farmland guidelines; Forest regrowth, shrub encroachment, wood succession decrease the quality through the loss of the typical physiognomy followed by a decrease in small-scale habitat diversity; No land-use intensification (removal of the structural elements to enlarge the grassland; use of fertilizer and artificial seeding; too high livestock densities); No spread of non-native trees from planted stock or naturally invasive sources.

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

The habitat is assessed as Near Threatened (NT), because the estimated decline in area is around 30% in the last 50 years, combined with a decrease in quality, and continuing threatening processes.
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Near Threatened A1, C/D1
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Near Threatened A1, C/D1

Confidence in the assessment

Red List of habitat categories and criteria descriptions

Pressures and threats

  • Agriculture
    • Grassland removal for arable land
    • Abandonment of pastoral systems, lack of grazing
  • Sylviculture, forestry
    • Forest planting on open ground (native trees)
    • Artificial planting on open ground (non-native trees)
  • Natural System modifications
    • Burning down
    • Supression of natural fires
  • Natural biotic and abiotic processes (without catastrophes)
    • Biocenotic evolution, succession

Habitat restoration potential

The habitat has a high capacity to recover if grazing and human (tree) management is reintroduced. If untouched, there is no regeneration as areas turn slowly or quickly into forest/shrubland.

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

Wood pastures (and wood meadows) have a combined exploitation system. Modern agriculture has started to erode these habitats as they are not so productive in the short term. Conservation management should focus on the maintenance of traditional use or on reintroducing new ways of sustaining management. Old trees should be protected as they provide habitat for many rare species.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to agriculture and open habitats
    • Maintaining grasslands and other open habitats


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 unknown Decreasing Decreasing
Italy mainland Present 1126 Decreasing Decreasing
Sardinia Present 1126 Decreasing Decreasing
Portugal mainland Present 10700 Decreasing Decreasing
Madeira Present 10700 Decreasing Decreasing
Spain mainland Present 15491 Decreasing Decreasing
Canary Islands Present 15491 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)
Bosnia and Herzegovina Present 200 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 2820900 4712 26717 + Greece ca. 10 000km2??
EU28+ 4724 26717 + Greece ca. 10 000km2??
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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