Red List habitat classification > RLF - Heathland and scrub > RLF9.1 Temperate and boreal riparian scrub

Temperate and boreal riparian scrub

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLF9.1
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)

Summary

This habitat includes scrub vegetation developed more permanently on unsorted gravelly deposits on the banks and shoals of turbulent seasonally-flowing streams and flood-prone rivers through the uplands of nemoral, boreal and alpine zones, as well as temporary successional willow vegetation through the European lowlands. In higher European mountains, common woody pioneers in such situations are Myricaria germanica, Salix purpurea, S. eleagnos, S. daphnoides and S. nigricans with S. phylicifolia often the leading pioneer in the Boreal zone. This kind of vegetation also extends into the Mediterranean zone of Spain where permanent flow protects streamside sediments against the seasonal drying of sediments and salinization that favours F9.3 Mediterranean riparian scrub. Here S. salvifolia, S. pedicillata and S. cantabrica are important colonisers.
These willows anchor firmly in the gravels and can tolerate further flooding, as well as browsing from wild herbivores and stock. Where accumulating gravels raise the ground surface higher above the flood, Hippophaë rhamnoides can also gain a hold, thriving in the lime-rich conditions that generally prevail here and coming to dominate in dense thickets. Such alluvial scrub, only incidentally flooded, is found both in temperate Europe and in the boreal regions. Where regular inundation ceases in the higher reaches of rivers, there can be a succession to G1.2 Riparian woodland dominated by Alnus incana.
These assemblages do not extend unchanged in composition into the lowlands of Europe and, in fact, where S. eleagnos persists along more mature riversides, it can attain the stature of a tree which excludes its stands from this habitat. However, on the sediments which are deposited by flood waters at these lower altitudes, S. purpurea can colonise with S. triandra to form willow scrub with a similar structure to that of mountain streamsides. Here, however, where the sediments stabilise, this vegetation is often a prelude to the development of G1.1 Riparian and gallery woodland dominated by S. alba and S. fragilis. However, in lowland rivers prone to repeated flooding, repeated setback of such succession can leads to re-establishment of the willow scrub.
In the boreal regions of Europe riparian scrub along rivers and mountains streams is dominated by a combination of Salix lapponum, Salix glauca, Salix lanata and Salix phylicifolia, and a herb layer of tall herbs, like Filipendula ulmaria, Geum rivale, Calamagrostis purpurea, Rumex acetosa and Comarum palustre.

Indicators of quality:

  • Stands of this scrub may be impermanent along very turbulent streams and rivers, developing again in the same or other places in following seasons, so discontinuity in a particular locality is not necessarily a sign of threatened quality
  • the maintenance of seasonal flooding fed by snow-melt or upland rains.
  • continuing dominance of shrubs without invading trees.
  • low levels of browsing by wild herbivores and stock with no decline in shrub cover.

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

There has been an overall slight decrease of the habitat in both quantity and quality over the last 50 years, but not to a degree to meet any Red List category. The situation varies a lot over Europe and the habitat is much more threathened in lowlands and the Alps compared to the Balkan and the north. In Scandinavia this willow scrub has a good quality and even shows an increase in area.
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

  • Invasive, other problematic species and genes
    • Invasive non-native species
  • Natural System modifications
    • Large scale water deviation
    • Lack of flooding
    • Modifying structures of inland water courses
    • Reservoirs
    • Small hydropower projects, weirs
    • Dykes and flooding defense in inland water systems

Habitat restoration potential

Restoration of watercourses may have effect in a relatively short time if the measures are robust enough. Several full scale restoration projects have been carried out, most of them with great success.

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

Most important management is to restore the water regime to a level that water fluctuations are as close as possible to natural conditions. Other measures are to eradicate invasive species and to protect sites with a representative set of good examples of the habitat.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to wetland, freshwater and coastal habitats
    • Restoring/Improving the hydrological regime
  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Legal protection of habitats and species
    • Manage landscape features
  • 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)
Austria Present 58 Decreasing Decreasing
Spain mainland Present 282 Decreasing Decreasing
Ireland Present 5 Unknown Stable
Lithuania Present <12 Stable Stable
Bulgaria Present 0.5 Stable Stable
Czech Republic Present 46 Decreasing Stable
Germany Present unknown Stable Increasing
Hungary Present 140 Stable Stable
Finland mainland Present unknown Stable Stable
Aland Islands Present unknown Stable Stable
Romania Present 2 Decreasing Decreasing
Slovenia Present 27 Decreasing Decreasing
Greece (mainland and other islands) Present 0.5 Stable Stable
Croatia Present 48 Decreasing Decreasing
France mainland Present 150-300 Decreasing Stable
Slovakia Present 1.1 Stable Stable
United Kingdom Present 80 Stable Stable
Italy mainland Present 203 Decreasing Decreasing
Belgium Present 0.01 Unknown Unknown
Netherlands Present 10 Decreasing Decreasing
Sweden Present 270-385 Increasing Increasing
Northern Island Present 80 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)
Bosnia and Herzegovina Present 5 Decreasing Stable
Switzerland Present 45 Stable Stable
Norway Mainland Present 29 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 6986850 4916 1475 Lacking data from Finland, that has a substansial part of the habitat
EU28+ 5078 1554
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 Alnus incana
Flowering Plants Calamagrostis purpurea
Flowering Plants Comarum palustre
Flowering Plants Filipendula ulmaria
Flowering Plants Geum rivale
Flowering Plants Myricaria germanica
Flowering Plants Rumex acetosa
Flowering Plants Salix cantabrica
Flowering Plants Salix daphnoides
Flowering Plants Salix glauca
Flowering Plants Salix lanata
Flowering Plants Salix lapponum
Flowering Plants Salix myrsinifolia
Flowering Plants Salix nigricans
Flowering Plants Salix phylicifolia
Flowering Plants Salix purpurea
Flowering Plants Salix salvifolia
Flowering Plants Salix starkeana
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Alnus incana Flowering Plants
Calamagrostis purpurea Flowering Plants
Comarum palustre Flowering Plants
Filipendula ulmaria Flowering Plants
Geum rivale Flowering Plants
Myricaria germanica Flowering Plants
Rumex acetosa Flowering Plants
Salix cantabrica Flowering Plants
Salix daphnoides Flowering Plants
Salix glauca Flowering Plants
Salix lanata Flowering Plants
Salix lapponum Flowering Plants
Salix myrsinifolia Flowering Plants
Salix nigricans Flowering Plants
Salix phylicifolia Flowering Plants
Salix purpurea Flowering Plants
Salix salvifolia Flowering Plants
Salix starkeana 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 F9.1 Riverine scrub same
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