Red List habitat classification > RLF - Heathland and scrub > RLF7.4c Eastern Mediterranean mountain hedgehog-heath

Eastern Mediterranean mountain hedgehog-heath

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLF7.4c
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 diverse habitat includes both the primary cushion heaths of the high, dry mountains of the East Mediterranean region with low, cushion-forming often spiny shrubs, and the secondary, zoogenic downslope extensions of these high-altitude formations. More specifically, it includes: (a) the shrubby formations of dry, usually calcareous rocky places with strongly eroded humus-carbonate soils, with large amounts of skeletal material and rock outcrops including the spiny hedgehog-heaths, the cushiony formations of dwarf suffrutescents and/or the bush-dominated facies of stripped grasslands, (b) the downslope extensions of the high altitude formations in zoogenic forest clearings of the mountains of Greece, of the Moesian zone and of the central Balkan peninsula which are dominated by the same species, or specifically montane or steppic taxa (often Genista-dominated), and (c) the high altitude hedgehog-heaths that are developed on relatively humus-rich rendziniform soils at or above treeline and dominated by large hemispherical tussocks of the tragacanths Astragalus rumelicus, and/or Astragalus parnassi. Varieties, distinguished by the dominant taxa, include the tragacanth dominated cushion heaths of the eastern Mediterranean; the Genista acanthoclada dominated formations; the summit communities of Mt. Troodos (in Cyprus) with Berberis cretica, Sorbus aria subsp. cretica (= S. graeca) that also include the restricted endemics Astragalus echinus, Alyssum troodii, Teucrium cyprium, Nepeta troodi, Satureja troodii, Onosma troodi and Scorzonera troodea; the endemic-rich hedgehog-heaths of calcareous mountains of Aegean islands and mount Athos (in Greece); as well as the hedgehog-heaths of high mountains of Crete with Astragalus creticus subsp. creticus, Astragalus angustifolius, Acantholimon androsaceum, Berberis cretica, Daphne oleoides, Prunus prostrata, Euphorbia acanthothamnos, Verbascum spinosum and Sideritis syriaca.

Indicators of good quality:

• High species richness and occurrence of endemic species

• Low shrub cover (chamaephytes, nano-phanerophytes) more than 30%

• Significant presence of perennial grass species

• Regular grazing

• No indication of strong erosion eg. gully formation

• Absence or low cover of ruderal/nitrophilous species (species of Stellarietea or of the Artemisietea)

• Long-term habitat stability: absence of progressive or retrogressive succesional trends

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

Although quantitative data on quality are lacking and also territorial data are not provided for all countries, the Red List criteria qualify for a Least Concern status. The extensive distribution of the habitat, with its varied plant communities throughout its range, in combination with the long-term interaction with traditional human activities (summer pasture-lands above the timberline), which has conserved the total species diversity and that of endemic/rare/endangered species, lead us with certainty to the same conclusion.
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
    • Grazing
    • Intensive mixed animal grazing
    • Abandonment of pastoral systems, lack of grazing
  • Natural System modifications
    • Other ecosystem modifications
    • Anthropogenic reduction of habitat connectivity
  • Natural biotic and abiotic processes (without catastrophes)
    • Biocenotic evolution, succession
    • Species composition change (succession)

Habitat restoration potential

Only the destruction of the habitat connectivity might affect dramatically habitat conservation. The time of recovery is related to/dependent on the disturbance or the destructive factor.

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

The grassland and dwarf-scrub/thorny-cushion vegetation communities of the Eastern Mediterranean mountain areas included in this habitat are used as summer pastures above the timberline since ancient times, traditionally with sheep and goats but recently also with cows and they have been indispensable for stock-breeding and grazing. The traditional character of the summer pastoralism which is still in practice should continue, avoiding heavy grazing through management measures for rational grazing intensity, and controlling the road and cistern constructions. Monitoring is necessary to study the combined effects of heavy grazing and all activities related to this.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to agriculture and open habitats
    • Maintaining grasslands and other open habitats
  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Manage landscape features
  • Measures related to hunting, taking and fishing and species management
    • Other species 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)
Greece (mainland and other islands) Present 1809 Stable Stable
Crete Present 1809 Stable Stable
East Aegean Present 1809 Stable Stable
Bulgaria Present 125 Stable 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)
Albania Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Uncertain Uknown 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 348000 295 2000 Based on the existing data provided by the EU Member States (GR & BG). This number is partially representing the current actual total area.
EU28+ 300 2000
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.
Conifers Juniperus hemisphaerica
Flowering Plants Acantholimon androsaceum
Flowering Plants Achillea ageratifolia
Flowering Plants Agropyron cristatum
Flowering Plants Anthyllis aurea
Flowering Plants Artemisia alba
Flowering Plants Asperula cynanchica
Flowering Plants Aster alpinus
Flowering Plants Astragalus angustifolius
Flowering Plants Astragalus rumelicus
Flowering Plants Berberis cretica
Flowering Plants Bothriochloa ischaemum
Flowering Plants Bromus riparius
Flowering Plants Centaurea chrysolepis
Flowering Plants Cirsium hypopsilum
Flowering Plants Convolvulus cochlearis
Flowering Plants Daphne oleoides
Flowering Plants Eryngium amethystinum
Flowering Plants Euphorbia acanthothamnos
Flowering Plants Festuca dalmatica
Flowering Plants Festucopsis sancta
Flowering Plants Fumana procumbens
Flowering Plants Genista acanthoclada
Flowering Plants Globularia stygia
Flowering Plants Hyacinthella leucophaea
Flowering Plants Hypericum rumeliacum
Flowering Plants Linum flavum
Flowering Plants Minuartia stellata
Flowering Plants Onosma troodi
Flowering Plants Paronychia kapela
Flowering Plants Prunus prostrata
Flowering Plants Rindera graeca
Flowering Plants Satureja montana subsp. kitaibelii
Flowering Plants Sesleria coerulans
Flowering Plants Sideritis clandestina
Flowering Plants Sideritis syriaca
Flowering Plants Sorbus aria
Flowering Plants Thymus boissieri
Flowering Plants Verbascum spinosum
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Juniperus hemisphaerica Conifers
Acantholimon androsaceum Flowering Plants
Achillea ageratifolia Flowering Plants
Agropyron cristatum Flowering Plants
Anthyllis aurea Flowering Plants
Artemisia alba Flowering Plants
Asperula cynanchica Flowering Plants
Aster alpinus Flowering Plants
Astragalus angustifolius Flowering Plants
Astragalus rumelicus Flowering Plants
Berberis cretica Flowering Plants
Bothriochloa ischaemum Flowering Plants
Bromus riparius Flowering Plants
Centaurea chrysolepis Flowering Plants
Cirsium hypopsilum Flowering Plants
Convolvulus cochlearis Flowering Plants
Daphne oleoides Flowering Plants
Eryngium amethystinum Flowering Plants
Euphorbia acanthothamnos Flowering Plants
Festuca dalmatica Flowering Plants
Festucopsis sancta Flowering Plants
Fumana procumbens Flowering Plants
Genista acanthoclada Flowering Plants
Globularia stygia Styx Globularia Flowering Plants
Hyacinthella leucophaea Flowering Plants
Hypericum rumeliacum Flowering Plants
Linum flavum Flowering Plants
Minuartia stellata Flowering Plants
Onosma troodi Flowering Plants
Paronychia kapela Flowering Plants
Prunus prostrata Flowering Plants
Rindera graeca Flowering Plants
Satureja montana subsp. kitaibelii Flowering Plants
Sesleria coerulans Flowering Plants
Sideritis clandestina Flowering Plants
Sideritis syriaca Flowering Plants
Sorbus aria Flowering Plants
Thymus boissieri Flowering Plants
Verbascum spinosum Flowering Plants

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Other classifications

Not available
European Environment Agency (EEA)
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