Red List habitat classification > RLF - Heathland and scrub > RLF6.1b Western acidophilous garrigue

Western acidophilous garrigue

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLF6.1b
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

Xerophytic shrub communities of Mediterranean nano-phanerophytes with rolled or densely hairy leaves, rich in aromatic compoundsdominated by Cistaceae, Labiatae and sometimes by spiny brooms (Genista spp. ) that are always seral stages of forests or high-scrubs (mostly Quercetea ilicis); distributed from the thermo- to the lower supra- mediterranean vegetation belts with semi-arid to subhumid bioclimatic conditions, always in acidic, silicate-derived soils, excluding ultramafic substrata  with alkaline reaction. These communities occur on shallow,  frequently eroded soils with very acidic raw organic matter (mor type humus) throughout the Western Mediterranean subregion. Their range  has been expanded  due to human disturbances, namely the destruction of woodlands, and subsequent burning, grazing and agriculture. After abandonment of agricultural fields, after burning or after management of forest landscapes in Mediterranean bioclimates these communities act primarily as pioneer woody vegetation, being composed mostly of R-strategists, partly summer-deciduous seeder shrubs, which are also radiation-prone (heliophilous). As long as the disturbance regimes are kept (fire, tilling) shrub encroachment  might  occur and successional processes halt at the garrigue stage for a long time; hence  the garrigues may have a quasi-permanent character. Garrigues are characterized by high taxa diversity and also a great bio-coenotical and biogeographical differentiation, harboring many endemics. There are two main groups of communities following the  nature of the substratum: those on hard silicate (Lavanduletalia stoechadis) rocks and those  on loose-sand dunes and palaeodunes (Stauracantho-Halimietalia commutati). Several subtypes (alliances) may be recognized according to biogeography in the span of western Mediterranean region of Europe:

1. Cistion ladaniferi: garrigues of Cistus spp. and Lavandula stoechas at the thermo- to the supra- mediterranenan oceanic bioclimatic belts distributed to the north-central-Levantine Iberia, south coast of France, up to  Italy to  the coast of Liguria.

2. Cistion laurifolii: garrigues dominated by Cistus laurifolius and Lavandula pedunculata s.l. at the meso- to supra-mediterranean semi-continental bioclimatic belts distributed to  west-central Iberian..

3. Ulici argentei-Cistion ladaniferi: garrigues dominated by Cistus ladanifer and C. monspeliensis and co-dominated by Lavandula sampaioana (various subsp.), L. luisieri, Genista hirsuta, Ulex borgiae, U.eriocladus, U. argenteus distributed to central south-western Iberian (luso-estremadurensian and betic provinces).

4. Calicotomo villosae-Genistion tyrrhenae: Italo-Thyrrenean garrigues on  volcanic substrata at  the thermos-mediterranean belt, dominated by Genista tyrrhena, G. cilentina, Erica multiflora, Cistus spp.., Calicotome villosa, Ampelodesmos mauritanica.

5. Teucrion mari: garrigues dominated by Teucrium marum, Stachys glutinosa, Cistus creticus, Phagnalon rupestre subsp. annoticum, Helychrysum italicum subsp. microphyllum, Genista corsica, G. sardoa, G. ephedroides, G. sulcitana, Santolina insularis, Euphorbia cupanii at the meso- to thermos-mediterranean belts of Sardinia and Corsica.

6. Coremation albi: endemic-rich garrigues communities dominated by Stauracanthus genistoides (= S. lusitanicus), S. spectabilis, Halimium halimifolium, H. calycinum, Ulex australis subsp. australis and U. australis subsp. welwitschianus, U. argenteus subsp. subsericeus, Thymus camphoratus, Thymus capitellatus, Thymus albicans subsp. donyanae  on consolidated dunes and palaeodunes distributed from the Portuguese coasts to the coasts of Andalusia. This subtype is characterized by the following genera  with endemic species:  Armeria, Dianthus, Thymus, Avenula and Sideritis (see flora).

Note on the circumscription of the habitat

Due to vagueness and broadness of the historical ‘garrigue’ concept, the circumscription of the habitat F6.1b should become  more precise. Thus, we circumscribe the habitat F6.1b to contain typical nano-phaneropytic (dwarf scrub) garrigues, seral of forests, on acidic silicate-derived soils, excluding chamaephytic mountain vegetation and sea-cliff vegetation. Taking Mucina et al. [EuroVegChecklist] (ined.) as syntaxonomic reference, the habitat includes the major part of the Cisto-Lavanduletea stoechadis vegetation class; hence, the following units or syntaxa with physiognomic and ecological  affinities to Cisto-Lavanduletea are excluded: chamaephytic cushion scrub vegetation of Corsica Sardinia and Sicily occurring at the  upper supra- to mountain- and oro- mediterranean belts assigned to Carici-Genistetea lobelii and Rumici-Astragaletea siculi - only on Mount Etna) is excluded (F7.4b); Armerio sardoae- Genistion salzmanii is excluded (considered Carici-Genistetea lobelii); tall-broom (Genistetea) communities seral of forests are excluded (F3.1c Cytisetea scopario-striati); xerophytic cushion chamaephytic scrub under the influence of salty wind is excluded (F7.1-2 or B3.1-3b: Helichrysetalia italici, Crithmo-Staticetea or Rosmarinetea); Staehlino-Ulicion baetici is excluded due to ultramafic siliceous alkaline substrata (F6.1a Rosmarinetea officinalis); Teucrion mari and Calicotomo villosae-Genistion tyrrhenae are considered separate alliances and are included in F6.1b; any type of vegetation of F5.1/2 (Pistacio-Rhamnetalia alaterni, Quercetea ilicis), namely Quercion fruticosae is excluded. All Cisto-Micromerietea vegetation from the Eastern Mediterranean subregion is excluded, due to strict biogeographic circumscription of the habitat to the Western Mediterranean ; thus, only territories west of Italy, including the Thyrrenian coast, Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia, Malta and the Baleares are included  ( the Adriatic coasts of Italy and territories eastwards are not included). All heathland habitats (F4.2) are excluded. Erica multiflora communities on limestone, even if decarbonated are excluded (Cisto eriocephali-Ericion multiflorae, Cisto-Micromerietea or Rosmarino-Ericion multiflorae, Rosmarinetea). Those communities including E. multiflora on substrata other than limestone are included. Semi- nitrogen or salt prone shrub vegetation is also excluded (F6.8a - Pegano-Salsoletea class).

Indicators of good quality:

As acidic garrigues are considered seral vegetation stages of woodlands, their maintenance in the landscape mosaic depends on the persistence of disturbance: cutting, fire, grazing and agricultural abandonment. Due to the pioneer character of this vegetation type, primary colonization stages after bare ground are species-poor  basal communities lacking  most specialized plants and poccessing less conservation value. Meta-stability of the garrigues stage for some time is necessary to reach coenotic saturation, i.e. defined by the presence of its full characteristic set of bio-indicators. Thus, as most garrigues follow plowing in managed forest-agricultural context, some patches are to be kept without disturbance for greater time. As much as more characteristic-indicator species are present, the greater the value of the communities.

In general, short periods between plowing should be avoided (< 15 years). In a greater time span, garrigues may be replaced by taller woody vegetation due to progressive ecological succession. The later should be taken on account when managing a landscape mosaic.

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) based on available territorial data. The habitat has not a small range and has not suffered any historical reduction in quality or quantity. A stable condition and no important threats are expected in the future. This is in consistency with the habitat's pioneer nature, common in former agricultural land after abandonment.
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
    • Crop change
    • Intensive mixed animal grazing
  • Sylviculture, forestry
    • Artificial planting on open ground (non-native trees)
    • Removal of forest undergrowth
    • Grazing in forests/ woodland
  • Natural System modifications
    • Lack of fires
    • Reduction or loss of specific habitat features
  • Natural biotic and abiotic processes (without catastrophes)
    • Species composition change (succession)

Habitat restoration potential

In general, no interventions are needed to promote the habitat’s distribution and support its recovery.It is composed of pioneer species colonizing soils after cessation of agricultural activities. The establishment of species saturated condition is reached in about 10 years.

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

Although in most part of the habitat area no special management measures are required, other than regular plowing (when included in very extensive agro-silvo-pastoral systems), the reduction of the period between plowing due to intensification or preventing fires, might not allow succession to go beyond the species poor pioneer stages. Thus, in some areas where conservation of garrigues is desirable (also as habitat for wildlife), an extension in period between plowing might be advisable to allow succession towards a species saturated condition. As to the specific case of palaeodune scrub (cf. 2260 Annex 1) it is advisable that tilling is kept at a minimum and only when, by sucession, the pre-forest stages tend to become dominant at local scale.

List of conservation and management needs

  • No measures
    • No measures needed for the conservation of the habitat/species
  • Measures related to agriculture and open habitats
    • Other agriculture-related 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)
France mainland Present unknown Unknown Unknown
Corsica Present unknown Unknown Unknown
Italy mainland Present 473 Decreasing Stable
Sardinia Present 473 Decreasing Stable
Sicily Present 473 Decreasing Stable
Portugal mainland Present 797 Unknown Increasing
Spain mainland Present 8075 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)

Extent of Occurrence, Area of Occupancy and habitat area

Extent of Occurrence (EOO) (Km2) Area of Occupancy (AOO) Current estimated Total Area Comment
EU28 2032900 2319 9345
EU28+ 2319 9345
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 Ampelodesmos mauritanica
Flowering Plants Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Flowering Plants Armeria pinifolia
Flowering Plants Armeria rouyana
Flowering Plants Armeria velutina
Flowering Plants Aster aragonensis
Flowering Plants Astragalus lusitanicus
Flowering Plants Calicotome spinosa
Flowering Plants Calicotome villosa
Flowering Plants Calluna vulgaris
Flowering Plants Centaurea hanryi
Flowering Plants Cistus creticus
Flowering Plants Cistus crispus
Flowering Plants Cistus ladanifer
Flowering Plants Cistus laurifolius
Flowering Plants Cistus libanotis
Flowering Plants Cistus monspeliensis
Flowering Plants Cistus populifolius
Flowering Plants Erica multiflora
Flowering Plants Euphorbia cupanii
Flowering Plants Genista aspalathoides
Flowering Plants Genista corsica
Flowering Plants Genista ephedroides
Flowering Plants Genista hirsuta
Flowering Plants Genista sardoa
Flowering Plants Halimium halimifolium
Flowering Plants Halimium verticillatum
Flowering Plants Halimium viscosum
Flowering Plants Helichrysum serotinum
Flowering Plants Hypericum australe
Flowering Plants Lavandula pedunculata
Flowering Plants Lavandula sampaioana
Flowering Plants Lavandula stoechas
Flowering Plants Orchis champagneuxii
Flowering Plants Orchis picta
Flowering Plants Santolina insularis
Flowering Plants Sideritis lacaitae
Flowering Plants Sideritis paulii
Flowering Plants Stachys glutinosa
Flowering Plants Stauracanthus genistoides
Flowering Plants Stauracanthus spectabilis
Flowering Plants Teucrium marum
Flowering Plants Thymus camphoratus
Flowering Plants Thymus capitellatus
Flowering Plants Thymus leptophyllus
Flowering Plants Thymus mastichina
Flowering Plants Thymus vulgaris
Flowering Plants Ulex argenteus
Flowering Plants Ulex eriocladus
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Ampelodesmos mauritanica Flowering Plants
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi Flowering Plants
Armeria pinifolia Flowering Plants
Armeria rouyana Flowering Plants
Armeria velutina Flowering Plants
Aster aragonensis Flowering Plants
Astragalus lusitanicus Flowering Plants
Calicotome spinosa Flowering Plants
Calicotome villosa Flowering Plants
Calluna vulgaris Flowering Plants
Centaurea hanryi Flowering Plants
Cistus creticus Flowering Plants
Cistus crispus Flowering Plants
Cistus ladanifer Flowering Plants
Cistus laurifolius Flowering Plants
Cistus libanotis Flowering Plants
Cistus monspeliensis Flowering Plants
Cistus populifolius Flowering Plants
Erica multiflora Flowering Plants
Euphorbia cupanii Flowering Plants
Genista aspalathoides Flowering Plants
Genista corsica Flowering Plants
Genista ephedroides Flowering Plants
Genista hirsuta Flowering Plants
Genista sardoa Flowering Plants
Halimium halimifolium Flowering Plants
Halimium verticillatum Flowering Plants
Halimium viscosum Flowering Plants
Helichrysum serotinum Flowering Plants
Hypericum australe Flowering Plants
Lavandula pedunculata Flowering Plants
Lavandula sampaioana Flowering Plants
Lavandula stoechas Flowering Plants
Orchis champagneuxii Flowering Plants
Orchis picta Flowering Plants
Santolina insularis Flowering Plants
Sideritis lacaitae Flowering Plants
Sideritis paulii Flowering Plants
Stachys glutinosa Flowering Plants
Stauracanthus genistoides Flowering Plants
Stauracanthus spectabilis Flowering Plants
Teucrium marum Flowering Plants
Thymus camphoratus Flowering Plants
Thymus capitellatus Flowering Plants
Thymus leptophyllus Flowering Plants
Thymus mastichina Flowering Plants
Thymus vulgaris Flowering Plants
Ulex argenteus Flowering Plants
Ulex eriocladus 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 F6.1 Western garrigues narrower
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