Red List habitat classification > RLF - Heathland and scrub > RLF8.1 Canarian xerophytic scrub

Canarian xerophytic scrub

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLF8.1
Threat status
Europe Vulnerable
EU Vulnerable
Relation to
Source European Red List habitat factsheet
European Red List of habitats reports
European Red List of habitats (Excel table)

Summary

Open scrub formed by stem and leaf succulents, often belonging to the Euphorbia genus (tabaibales and cardonales), and woody sclerophyllous shrubs. It develops in the xerophytic to desertic lowland areas of the Canary Islands, covering practically the whole of the area in the eastern islands (Lanzarote and Fuerteventura) and the lower belts in the rest of the archipelago, particularly in the south facing slopes. The substrata are rocky, often with very poorly developed soils (lithosols).

The succulent scrub has elements of arid tropical origin, related to habitats existing in arid territories of tropical Africa. As in the other Canarian habitats, many geovicariant endemics for each of the islands or islands groups enrich the characteristic species list. This habitat type is divided into two main subtypes, one in the lower altitude on rocky soils and dryiest areas, in which the succulent scrub is dominant, and the second, in somewhat higher elevations, moister conditions and more structured soils, dominated by a xerophytic scrub of Rhamnus and Olea, much more related to Mediterranean ecosystems and containing more Mediterranean flora elements.

This habitat has been historically used by man and altered due to goat grazing, housing, and building of urban areas. As a result, it is easily invaded by nitrophilic species of the Forsskaoleo-Rumicetalia lunariae.

Indicators of good quality:

  • Absence of nitrophilous and non-native species
  • Presence and abundance of endemic succulent shrubs

 

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

The overall analysis of territorial data leads to the category Vulnerable (VU) for trends in quantity over the past 50 years and long-term trends over the past 500 years. The distribution of the habitat is very limited, resulting in Near Threatened assessments for criterion B1 (restricted range extent). For trends in quality a decrease of 10% over the past 50 years has been calculated, leading to the category Near Threatened. There are indications that species of the habitat have become extinct in historical/pre-historical times.
EU
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Vulnerable A1, A3
Europe
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Vulnerable A1, A3

Confidence in the assessment

medium
Red List of habitat categories and criteria descriptions

Pressures and threats

  • Agriculture
    • Cultivation
    • Intensive mixed animal grazing
    • Non intensive mixed animal grazing
    • Annual and perennial non-timber crops
  • Urbanisation, residential and commercial development
    • Urbanised areas, human habitation
  • Natural biotic and abiotic processes (without catastrophes)
    • Accumulation of organic material

Habitat restoration potential

Unknown, but in general the dominant scrubs grow relatively slow, and restoration of complete habitats is expected to last relatively long.

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

The Natura 2000 network and the Canary Network of Natural Reserves cover large parts of the highest parts of the Canary Islands. A relatively low amount of the habitat F8.1 is within the boundaries of these protected areas. As regards thermo-sclerophyllous woodland, the possibilities of recovery are scarce, because of the high degree of disturbance and current use of its potential territory. Designation of protected areas should focus more on the lower areas where habitat F8.1 occurs.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Establish protected areas/sites
  • Measures related to urban areas, industry, energy and transport
    • Other 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)
Canary Islands Present 275 Decreasing 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)

Extent of Occurrence, Area of Occupancy and habitat area

Extent of Occurrence (EOO) (Km2) Area of Occupancy (AOO) Current estimated Total Area Comment
EU28 71600 121 275 Habitat only occurs in Canary Islands.
EU28+ 121 275 Habitat only occurs in Canary Islands.
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 Euphorbia balsamifera
Flowering Plants Anagyris latifolia
Flowering Plants Asparagus arborescens
Flowering Plants Asparagus nesiotes
Flowering Plants Asparagus pastorianus
Flowering Plants Asparagus scoparius
Flowering Plants Asparagus umbellatus
Flowering Plants Bupleurum handiense
Flowering Plants Caralluma burchardii
Flowering Plants Ceropegia dichotoma
Flowering Plants Dracaena draco
Flowering Plants Echium strictum
Flowering Plants Euphorbia aphylla
Flowering Plants Euphorbia atropurpurea
Flowering Plants Euphorbia berthelotii
Flowering Plants Euphorbia canariensis
Flowering Plants Euphorbia handiensis
Flowering Plants Euphorbia regis-jubae
Flowering Plants Jasminum odoratissimum
Flowering Plants Maytenus canariensis
Flowering Plants Olea europaea
Flowering Plants Periploca laevigata
Flowering Plants Retama raetam
Flowering Plants Rhamnus crenulata
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Euphorbia balsamifera Conifers
Anagyris latifolia Flowering Plants
Asparagus arborescens Flowering Plants
Asparagus nesiotes Flowering Plants
Asparagus pastorianus Flowering Plants
Asparagus scoparius Flowering Plants
Asparagus umbellatus Flowering Plants
Bupleurum handiense Flowering Plants
Caralluma burchardii Flowering Plants
Ceropegia dichotoma Flowering Plants
Dracaena draco Flowering Plants
Echium strictum Flowering Plants
Euphorbia aphylla Flowering Plants
Euphorbia atropurpurea Flowering Plants
Euphorbia berthelotii Flowering Plants
Euphorbia canariensis Flowering Plants
Euphorbia handiensis Flowering Plants
Euphorbia regis-jubae Flowering Plants
Jasminum odoratissimum Flowering Plants
Maytenus canariensis Flowering Plants
Olea europaea Flowering Plants
Periploca laevigata Flowering Plants
Retama raetam Flowering Plants
Rhamnus crenulata 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 F8.1 Canary Island xerophytic scrub same
European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100