Red List habitat classification > RLF - Heathland and scrub > RLF3.1f Low steppic scrub

Low steppic scrub

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLF3.1f
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

This is dwarf scrub, usually less than 1m tall, occurring in the forest-steppe and steppe zones across central Europe, in the Pannonian Basin and adjacent areas, in the Danube lowlands in Romania and Bulgaria and the forest-steppe and steppe zones from south-eastern Poland through Ukraine to Russia and central Asia. It develops on both shallow leptosols near rock outcrops and on deep soils such as chernozems, kastanozems, phaeozems, cambisols or luvisols. Often it forms small stands of clonally growing dominant species on relatively mesic sites in dry grassland areas, for example in small terrain depressions with winter snow accumulation, on north-facing slopes, or at the edges of tall scrub or dry woodland; or it is found in extrazonal complexes of continental dry grassland vegetation. In some places it is a permanent natural vegetation type, in others it is a successional stage of dry grassland after abandonment. 

Indicators of good quality:

This habitat often contains rare species of continental steppe and forest-steppe, which may occur at the western limit of their geographic range or at isolated sites west of their continuous range. Of particular conservation value are low and open stands that are rich in species, especially if they directly border on natural or semi-natural steppic grasslands. On the other hand, the spread of shrubs, especially of the hybrid Prunus x eminens, can indicate degradation of valuable dry grassland habitats. In these stands ruderal species such as Artemisia vulgaris and Elymus repens can be common.

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

  • High species richness
  • Occurrence of rare species, especially those of continental distribution
  • Absence of ruderal, nutrient-demanding species
  • Absence of alien species
  • Long-term habitat stability, with no rapid successional trends
  • Occurrence in habitat complexes with dry grassland vegetation

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

The habitat is assessed as Least Concern (LC) because of negative trends in quantity and quality below the thresholds for Near Threatened. The habitat may be considered to meet the B2 criteria (small distribution), as its area (in km2) may be very small. However, there is uncertainty about provided area data, and besides for criterion B2 usually the number of distribution grids is used as an indicator instead of area. Finally, large historical trends in area have been reported by some countries, but also here data gaps and uncertainties make a reliable assessment not possible.
EU
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Least Concern -
Europe
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Least Concern -

Confidence in the assessment

low
Red List of habitat categories and criteria descriptions

Pressures and threats

  • Agriculture
    • Agricultural intensification
    • Restructuring agricultural land holding
  • Invasive, other problematic species and genes
    • Invasive non-native species

Habitat restoration potential

The habitat requires about 10 years to recover through intervention. To recover both through intervention and naturally it takes at least 20-30 years more.

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 this habitat it is aimed to maintain high species richness together with occurrence of the typical rare plants, especially those of continental distribution. One way to realize this os to prevent the increase of ruderal or alien species.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to forests and wooded habitats
    • Restoring/Improving forest habitats
  • Measures related to hunting, taking and fishing and species management
    • Specific single species or species group management measures

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 0.15 Decreasing Unknown
Bulgaria Present 0.02 Stable Stable
Czech Republic Present 1 - Stable
Germany Present 3 Stable Stable
Hungary Present 0.1-1 Stable Stable
Romania Present 126 Stable Stable
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 993750 503 131
EU28+ 507 131
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 Artemisia vulgaris
Flowering Plants Caragana frutex
Flowering Plants Cotoneaster integerrimus
Flowering Plants Elymus hispidus
Flowering Plants Elymus repens
Flowering Plants Festuca rupicola
Flowering Plants Fragaria viridis
Flowering Plants Geranium sanguineum
Flowering Plants Melica ciliata
Flowering Plants Poa angustifolia
Flowering Plants Polygonatum odoratum
Flowering Plants Prunus fruticosa
Flowering Plants Prunus tenella
Flowering Plants Rosa gallica
Flowering Plants Rosa pimpinellifolia
Flowering Plants Spiraea chamaedryfolia
Flowering Plants Spiraea crenata
Flowering Plants Spiraea media
Mosses & Liverworts Hypnum cupressiforme
Mosses & Liverworts Rhytidium rugosum
Mosses & Liverworts Thuidium abietinum
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Artemisia vulgaris Flowering Plants
Caragana frutex Flowering Plants
Cotoneaster integerrimus Flowering Plants
Elymus hispidus Flowering Plants
Elymus repens Flowering Plants
Festuca rupicola Flowering Plants
Fragaria viridis Flowering Plants
Geranium sanguineum Flowering Plants
Melica ciliata Flowering Plants
Poa angustifolia Flowering Plants
Polygonatum odoratum Flowering Plants
Prunus fruticosa Flowering Plants
Prunus tenella Flowering Plants
Rosa gallica Flowering Plants
Rosa pimpinellifolia Flowering Plants
Spiraea chamaedryfolia Flowering Plants
Spiraea crenata Flowering Plants
Spiraea media Flowering Plants
Hypnum cupressiforme Mosses & Liverworts
Rhytidium rugosum Mosses & Liverworts
Thuidium abietinum Mosses & Liverworts

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 F3.2 Submediterranean deciduous thickets and brushes overlap
European Environment Agency (EEA)
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