Red List habitat classification > RLF - Heathland and scrub > RLF7.1 Western Mediterranean spiny heath

Western Mediterranean spiny heath

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLF7.1
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)


Rare, extremely local and isolated, cushion-forming scrubs, often with spiny species, located in the clifftops of rocky coastal stretches, dispersed along the coasts of south Portugal, Northeast Spain and southern France, the Balearic and Thyrrenian Islands (Corsica, Sardinia, Malta and Pantellaria) up to the southern Italian Peninsula (Gulf of Taranto). It is submitted to the constant wind actions and to the salinity transported by the spray reaching particularly during the strong wind episodes. The rocky shallow soils and the steep slopes prevent from further development of vegetation, being considered this habitat as a permanent community of coastal clifftops in the Mediterranean area. These clifftop scrubs are characterized by irregular cover at their optimal phases, depending on the slope and the soil depth. Most of the stands of this habitat are quite inaccessible and the threats seem so be low.

Indicators of quality:

• no signals of human activity: trampling, building, trash, etc.

• presence and abundance of narrow-endemic species

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

The assessment results on the basis of the main criteria (A1,B1,C/D1) lead to the Least Concern category, due to the topographic self-defensive position of this habitat. However, if degraded, the recovery is difficult because the habitat is a low resiliency type adapted to high stressing conditions.
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

  • Transportation and service corridors
    • Paths, tracks, cycling tracks
  • Urbanisation, residential and commercial development
    • Dispersed habitation
  • Human intrusions and disturbances
    • Mountaineering & rock climbing

Habitat restoration potential

The reconstruction of this habitat after severe damage seems to be very difficult at least in a relatively short period of time

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

Preventing from building in the coastal strip as well as ordering the leisure activities of walking and climbing

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Establish protected areas/sites
  • Measures related to urban areas, industry, energy and transport
    • Urban and industrial waste management


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)
Spain mainland Present 6.4 Decreasing Decreasing
Corsica Present 19 Stable Stable
Sardinia Present 146 Stable Stable
Balearic Islands Present 6.4 Decreasing Decreasing
Portugal mainland Present 4.3 Decreasing Decreasing
France mainland Present 19 Stable Stable
Sicily Present 146 Stable Stable
Malta Present 71 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 >50000 >50 241
EU28+ >50 241
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)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100