Red List habitat classification > RLF - Heathland and scrub > RLF3.1a Lowland to montane temperate and submediterranean Juniperus scrub

Lowland to montane temperate and submediterranean Juniperus scrub

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLF3.1a
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)


Temperate and submediterranean scrubs, up to 7-8 m, with Juniperus communis subsp. communis are widespread in the lowland and low mountain regions of Europe, where these communities occur on nutrient poor, calcareous soils as well as on deep sandy soils. The edaphic conditions range from dry to rather moist. The first group is related to grasslands of the class Festuco-Brometea, the second one to heathlands of the class Calluno-Ulicetea. Apart from the dominant Juniperus communis, these vegetation types have hardly any species in common. On calcareous sediments, the grasses Brachypodium pinnatum and/or Bromus erectus are codominant, accompanied by a wide variety of species, including Anthyllis vulneraria, Carlina vulgaris, Centaurea scabiosa, Dianthus carthusianorum, Euphorbia cyparissias, Sanguisorba minor and Scabiosa columbaria. On sandy soils, Calluna vulgaris, Genista pilosa and Genista anglica are prominent dwarf-shrubs in the surrounding vegetation, together with Deschampsia flexuosa, Carex pilulifera, Festuca filiformis and a wide variety of mosses and lichens. The usual woody associates, particularly on neutral and calcareous soils, are Rosa canina, Crataegus monogyna, Prunus spinosa, Cornus sanguinea and Rubus plicatus. The junipers show a striking variety in growth forms, ranging from upright to prostrate, quite often occurring in mixed populations.

This habitat type often occurs in patchy mosaics with grasslands and heathlands. As such, these are part of old, pastoral landscapes, which require a specific management regime of extensive grazing. When abandoned and neglected, the succession will finally lead to woodland, where Juniperus communis may persist for a long time in the understory. Shrubs and small trees of Juniperus communis can become rather old, up to 200 years, but on the long term regeneration is a prerequisite, which is not always the case. Lack of favorable conditions for germination as well as a high grazing pressure by rabbits on juvenile plants may hinder rejuvenation. Of particular importance is the occurence of a large number of rare and endangered fungi.

Not included in F3.1a are the Juniperus communis formations of the subalpine and alpine regions of high mountains nor the Pannonic juniper-poplar steppe woods. The first group is assigned to Red List type F2.2b, the second group is classified under Red List type G1.7a.

Indicators of good quality:

  • Mosaic of juniper shrubs with grasslands or heathland
  • Variety of growth forms of different age, including juvenile plants
  • Presence of rare fungi
  • Extensive grazing regime which guarantees the complex landscape settings and prohibits a complete succesion towards woodland

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

All provided data lead to the conclusion that the habitat qualifies as Least Concern (LC) for both trends in quantity and trends in quality. For both indiactors there is a slight negative trend, but these are relatively far from the threshold for Vulnerable. Only the provided data for long term historical trends would lead to the catagory Vulnerable (VU), but there is limited data on this indicator, covering less than 10% of the area of the type, and it is likely that these data are not representative for the complete range.
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
    • Modification of cultivation practices
    • Agricultural intensification
    • Abandonment of pastoral systems, lack of grazing
  • Urbanisation, residential and commercial development
    • Urbanised areas, human habitation
  • Natural System modifications
    • Fire and fire suppression

Habitat restoration potential

Natural rejuvenation of the habitat is often difficult, depending on the circumstances. More research may be necessary, particularly in NW Europe and various questions should be examined (Knol & Nijhoff 2004). It is difficult to estimate how long it will take the habitat to recover. Specimens of Juniperus communis subsp. communis can become rather old, up to 200 years, but on the long term regeneration is a prerequisite, which is not always the case.

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

In most situation, both on baserich and acidic soils, an extensive grazing regime seems the best management to keep the shrubland open, preserve the species diversity and to prevent succession towards forest. Where problems exist with rejuvenation of Juniperus communis subsp. communis, research is needed on the best restoration strategies, which may include restoring of open sites for seedling by short periods of overgrazing or even by fire. Where sites are still under pressure of building and urbanisation, establishment of protected areas is required.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to agriculture and open habitats
    • Other agriculture-related measures
    • Maintaining grasslands and other open habitats
  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Establish protected areas/sites
  • Measures related to hunting, taking and fishing and species management
    • Specific single species or species group management measures


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 Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Belgium Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Bulgaria Present 10 Decreasing Decreasing
Croatia Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Czech Republic Present 2 Decreasing Stable
Denmark Present 14 Decreasing Decreasing
France mainland Present 200 Decreasing Decreasing
Germany Present 52 Decreasing Decreasing
Hungary Present 15 Decreasing Decreasing
Ireland Present 47 Unknown Unknown
Italy mainland Present 598 Decreasing Increasing
Latvia Present 0.7 Decreasing Unknown
Lithuania Present 1 Decreasing Decreasing
Netherlands Present 0.5 Decreasing Stable
Slovakia Present 142 Decreasing Decreasing
Slovenia Present 110 Stable Increasing
Spain mainland Present 9.3 Unknown Unknown
United Kingdom Present 29 Decreasing Decreasing
Estonia Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Finland mainland Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Greece (mainland and other islands) Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Luxembourg Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Poland Present unknown Unknown Unknown
Romania Uncertain unknown Unknown Unknown
Sweden 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)
Bosnia and Herzegovina Present 50 Decreasing Increasing
Switzerland Present 0.1 Unknown Unknown
Albania Uncertain unknown Unknown Unknown
Iceland Uncertain unknown Unknown Unknown
Isle of Man Uncertain unknown Unknown Unknown
Kosovo Uncertain unknown Unknown Unknown
Liechtestein Uncertain unknown Unknown Unknown
Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Uncertain unkown Unknown Unknown
Montenegro Uncertain unknown Unknown Unknown
Norway Mainland Uncertain unknown Unknown Unknown
Serbia Uncertain unknown Unknown Unknown
Kaliningrad Uncertain unknown Unknown Unknown

Extent of Occurrence, Area of Occupancy and habitat area

Extent of Occurrence (EOO) (Km2) Area of Occupancy (AOO) Current estimated Total Area Comment
EU28 5989900 2234 1300 Not all countries provided data yet
EU28+ 2297 1350 Not all countries provided data yet
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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