Red List habitat classification > RLG - Forests > RLG1.9a Temperate and boreal mountain Betula and Populus tremula woodland on mineral soils

Temperate and boreal mountain Betula and Populus tremula woodland on mineral soils

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLG1.9a
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)


This habitat includes deciduous woodlands growing in mountains at the extreme cold climatic limit towards the arctic or, oroarctic zone, where the short growing season, the prevalence of frost, snow conditions and high exposure limit both the possible dominants and the structure of the woodland. Silicate soils predominate, strongly acidic, often podzolised, sometimes showing cryogenic microrelief. But, nutrient-rich and moist brown soils also exist. Birch is the typical dominant tree, in northern Fennoscandia Betula pubescens ssp. czerepanovii (= B. tortuosa), which typically forms a very open, sometimes krummholz, canopy usually only 3-10m tall, with occasional Picea abies ssp. obovata towards the east. Beneath this, there is a layer of dwarf-shrubs including Vaccinium myrtillus, V. vitis-idaea, V. uliginosum, Empetrum hermaphroditum, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Betula nana, Rubus chamaemorus and Ledum palustre, monocotyledons and herbs such as Deschampsia flexuosa, Carex globularis, Cornus suecica and Trientalis europaea and a carpet of mosses and lichens. Similar field layers occur beneath short canopies of B. pubescens ssp. carpatica in the higher parts of the Scottish Highlands, so such woodland qualify as part of this habitat.

Indicators of good quality:

• Typical flora and fauna composition of the region

• Presence of natural disturbance

• Long historical continuity (ancient woodland) with high species diversity

• Survival of larger stands of forest without anthropogenic fragmentation and isolation (to support fauna which need 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 is assessed as Least Concern for EU28 and EU28+. In the EU28 its area has decreased -8% within the last 50 years and the area of the habitat is currently stable. A slight decline of quality has occurred on 32% of the area of this habitat in EU28 in the last 50 years. The habitat quality continues to decrease in some, but is stable in most EU28 countries. Trend data on reduction in quantity and quality were available only for a small number of EU countries, while a large part of the area of this type lies within Iceland and Norway. In Iceland the area is increasing, but the trend in quality (criterion C/D1) for the EU28+ is assessed as Data Deficient.
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

  • Agriculture
    • Intensive grazing
  • Sylviculture, forestry
    • Forestry activities not referred to above
  • Urbanisation, residential and commercial development
    • Other patterns of habitation
  • Natural biotic and abiotic processes (without catastrophes)
    • Damage by herbivores (including game species)
  • Climate change
    • Habitat shifting and alteration

Habitat restoration potential

It is likely that a severely damaged habitat will recover, but it will take a very long time. Intervention would in many cases mean regulation of reindeer grazing.

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Stable Unknown
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Decreasing Unknown
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

The most common approaches currently involve establishing protected areas/sites and establishing wilderness areas. Additional actions needed, depending on area, are restrictions of overgrazing and/or allowing grazing in undergrazed areas, further assessments about which subtypes of the habitat are threatened, management of recreational use (Norway), Rhododendron control (UK, Ireland) and control of climate change.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to forests and wooded habitats
    • Restoring/Improving forest habitats
  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Establish protected areas/sites
    • Establishing wilderness areas/allowing succession
  • Measures related to special resouce use
    • Other resource use measures


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)
Finland mainland Present 4960 Decreasing Decreasing
United Kingdom Present 450 Decreasing Unknown
Austria Present 05-Oct Unknown Unknown
Ireland Present 2 Unknown Stable
Sweden Present 9428 Stable Stable
Northern Island Present 450 Decreasing Unknown
Germany Present 10 Decreasing 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)
Norway Mainland Present 11000 Unknown Increasing
Faroe Islands Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Iceland Present Unknown 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 3164100 859 14857
EU28+ 3534 > 25857 Total area is given without Iceland
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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