Red List habitat classification > RLG - Forests > RLG1.7a Temperate and submediterranean thermophilous deciduous woodland

Temperate and submediterranean thermophilous deciduous woodland

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLG1.7a
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)


These thermophilous broadleaved deciduous woodlands form a wide, but interrupted, belt across the submediterranean zone of Europe, with milder winters and warmer drought-prone summers than sustain the broadleaved temperate woodlands, but colder, intermittently frosty and snowy winters than are typical for the evergreen broadleaved woodlands and scrub of the Mediterranean. To the north, they tend to occupy lower altitude, drier and warmer sites, to the south, rainier sites at higher altitudes, but the relief and parent materials differ widely across the range and the weakly base-rich to moderately acidic soils are of varied types. The canopy, rarely very tall, is dominated by thermophilous and drought-resistant deciduous (and some evergreen) trees, among which oaks are the commonest contributors to an upper tier. Quercus petraea and Q. robur remain important in the sub-Continental thermophilous woodlands of the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine and the northern Balkans but, across much of the range through France, northern Spain, Switzerland, northern Italy, the Pannonian Basin, around the Adriatic and in Greece, Qpubescens is the leading oak, with Qcerris and Qfrainetto becoming important from Italy eastwards. Qdalechampii, Qpolycarpa and Qvirgiliana are common associates, with Qtrojana in the Balkans. In the Iberian Peninsula, Qpyrenaica, Qfaginea ssp. faginea, Qfaginea ssp. broteroi and Qcanariensis replace these oaks as dominants. In less modified stands there is a second tier of trees with, across much of the range, Sorbus torminalis, Sdomestica, S. aria, Ulmus minor, Acer campestre, Amonspessulanum and Pyrus pyraster, with Fraxinus ornus, Ostrya carpinifolia and Carpinus orientalis commoner in the south-eastern regions, Acer tataricum and Tilia tomentosa mainly in the more Continental east. The light shade cast by the oaks and thinning of the canopy characteristically permit a dense shrub layer among which Cornus mas, Viburnum lantana, Ligustrum vulgare, Ruscus aculeatus, Crataegus monogyna, Prunus spinosa and Cotinus coggygria are frequent along with more mesic shrubs like Corylus avellana, Cornus sanguinea and Euonymus europaeus. To the west, Buxus sempervirens and Rubus ulmifolius occur, to the southeast Paliurus spina-christi, Hippocrepis emerus, Pistacia mutica and Juniperus excelsa and, in the warmer south, evergreen Mediterranean species such as Phillyrea latifolia, Arbutus unedo, Pistacia lentiscus, Pterebinthus, Viburnum tinus and Erica arborea. Lianas are common with Clematis vitalba, Lonicera caprifolium, Letrusca, Tamus communis, Rubia peregrina and Hedera helix the most consistent species throughout. The herb layer is rich with sub-Mediterranean species making a prominent contribution: Lithospermum purpurocaeruleum, Lathyrus venetus, Melittis melissophyllum, Tanacetum corymbosum, Silene coronaria, Potentilla micrantha, Vincetoxicum hirundinaria, Physospermum cornubienseHellebrous odorus, Hfoetidus, Mercurialis ovata and Viola hirta are characteristic through much of the range, with many other species occurring in particular regional types.

Indicators of quality:

• Natural composition of canopy
• Structural diversity/complexity with (semi)natural age structure or completeness of layers
• Typical flora and fauna composition of the region
• Presence of old trees and a variety of dead wood (lying or standing) and the associated flora, fauna and fungi
• Presence of natural disturbance such as treefall openings with natural regeneration
• Long historical continuity (ancient woodland) with high species diversity
• Survival of larger stands of forest without anthropogenic fragmentation and isolation (to support fauna which needs large undisturbed forests)
• Absence of non-native species in all layers (flora & fauna)
• No signs of eutrophication or pollution
• No man-induced very high population levels of ungulates

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

The habitat type is assessed as Least Concern under all criteria, both for EU28 and EU28+, although about 22-23% of its area has experienced a slight decline in quality on average. However, several of its subtypes (e.g. Annex I types) and most of its occurrences in some regions (especially in Central Europe) have been affected by severe decline in quality over large areas.
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

  • Sylviculture, forestry
    • Forestry clearance
    • Grazing in forests/ woodland
  • Invasive, other problematic species and genes
    • Invasive non-native species
  • Natural System modifications
    • Burning down
  • Natural biotic and abiotic processes (without catastrophes)
    • Species composition change (succession)

Habitat restoration potential

The recovery of this habitat should occur mainly by natural means (spontaneous regeneration of canopy trees from stumps). If this does not occur (after several events of disturbance), canopy trees can be planted. In both cases, the typical character and functionality of this habitat can be restored after 50+ years.

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

In the southern part of its geographic range this habitat does not need any specific management, however cutting followed by conversion to forestry plantations should be avoided. In the northern part of the range some of these forests may have developed as a legacy of the historical management such as coppicing or forest grazing; in such cases, restoration of these historical management practices may be needed. Overgrazing by game should be reduced by controlling the game population size.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to forests and wooded habitats
    • Adapt forest 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)
Austria Present 200 Decreasing Decreasing
Bulgaria Present 9350 Decreasing Decreasing
Croatia Present 3784 Increasing Increasing
Czech Republic Present 167 Decreasing Decreasing
France mainland Present 13470 Decreasing Increasing
Germany Present Unknown Decreasing Stable
Greece (mainland and other islands) Present 11448 Stable Stable
Hungary Present 2090 Decreasing Stable
Italy mainland Present 24818 Decreasing Stable
Sardinia Present 24818 Decreasing Stable
Sicily Present 24818 Decreasing Stable
Poland Present 18 Decreasing Decreasing
Portugal mainland Present 77 Unknown Increasing
Romania Present 4600 Decreasing Decreasing
Slovakia Present 210 Decreasing Decreasing
Slovenia Present 1064 Stable Increasing
Spain mainland Present 4027 Increasing Increasing
Balearic Islands Present 4027 Increasing Increasing
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 Present - -
Bosnia and Herzegovina Present 5000 Increasing Increasing
Kosovo Present - -
Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Present 1782 Decreasing Increasing
Montenegro Present 1749 Unknown Stable
Serbia Present - -
Switzerland Present 85 Increasing Stable

Extent of Occurrence, Area of Occupancy and habitat area

Extent of Occurrence (EOO) (Km2) Area of Occupancy (AOO) Current estimated Total Area Comment
EU28 5148500 16073 >117446 Current estimated Total Area is an underestimated minimum value because of missing data from some countries.
EU28+ 17793 >126062 Current estimated Total Area is an underestimated minimum value because of missing data from some countries.
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)
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1050 Copenhagen K
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