Red List habitat classification > RLG - Forests > RLG1.Aa Carpinus and Quercus mesic deciduous woodland

Carpinus and Quercus mesic deciduous woodland

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLG1.Aa
Threat status
Europe Near Threatened
EU Near Threatened
Relation to
Source European Red List habitat factsheet
European Red List of habitats reports
European Red List of habitats (Excel table)

Summary

These are deciduous broadleaved woodlands typical of free-draining to somewhat-strongly impeded brown earth soils and gleys of quite low, moderate to high base-status and moderate to high nutrient content across the lowlands and foothills of the temperate zone of western, central and southern Europe, with local extensions into regions of sub-Mediterranean, Pannonian and Boreal climate.  Partially this includes alluvial Quercus/ Carpinus-dominated forests in mountain valleys with infrequent indundation. The canopy is typically of mixed composition with oaks figuring prominently, notably Quercus robur and Q. petraea but with regional contributions from other oaks, along with Carpinus betulus, Fraxinus excelsior, F. angustifolia, Acer pseudoplatanus, A. campestre, A. platanoides, Ulmus glabra, Tilia cordata and T. tomentosa. Typically, Fagus sylvatica is at most a minor component here because it does not tolerate the stagnation in gley soils and is disadvantaged competitively, though transitions to more mesophilous and immature stands of free-draining G1.6a Fagus woodland on non-acid soils are quite common.  

The tree canopy can have a complex multi-layered structure (often much affected by sylviculture) but it casts a relatively light shade, so there is often a rich and extensive understorey of saplings, small trees, shrubs and lianes. Among the latter, Crataegus monogyna, C. laevigata, Corylus avellana, Euonymus europaeus, Viburnum opulus, Daphne mezereum, Lonicera xylosteum and Hedera helix are frequent throughout with other associates figuring according to regional or local climatic and edaphic conditions.  

The field layer too has a core of characteristic widely distributed hemicryptophytes and geophytes throughout the range with other contingents according to major climatic differences and local site conditions.  Viola reichenbachiana, Polygonatum multiflorum, Lamiastrum galeobdolon, Milium effusum, Campanula trachelium, Carex sylvatica, Pulmonaria obscura, P. officinalis, Scrophularia nodosa, Brachypodium sylvaticum, Galium odoratum, Poa nemoralis, Paris quadrifolia, Sanicula europaea, Adoxa moschatellina, Ranunculus auricomus, Arum maculatum are common throughout with Deschampsia cespitosa, Festuca gigantea, Stachys sylvatica, Circaea lutetiana, Impatiens noli-tangere and Athyrium filix-femina in moister situations.  There, too, especially where the soils are freshly aerated and more nutrient-rich, can be a striking vernal geophyte element with Ranunculus ficaria, Allium ursinum, Anemone nemorosa, Leucojum vernum and, in the Atlantic north-west, Hyacinthoides non-scripta. 

Within this broad frame, the geographic and climatic extremes can present rather striking contrasts.  To the Atlantic west, through Great Britain, Ireland and the foothills of northern Spain, Fraxinus excelsior can often exceed the oaks in its cover, is often accompanied by Ulmus glabra and, among the smaller trees of the understorey, Ilex aquifolium with Lonicera periclymenum a common liana.  Ferns such as Polystichum setiferum, P. aculeatum, Dryopteris filix-mas, D. affinis, Asplenium scolopendrium and A. trichomanes and a lush cover of bryophytes, especially bulky pleurocarpous mosses, reflect the humid atmosphere.  In northern Spain, Quercus ilex, Q. pyrenaica,  Laurus nobilis and Rhamnus alaternus in the canopy, Smilax aspera and Euphorbia peregrina as lianes and Helleborus viridis, Pulmonaria affinis and P. longifola among the herbs, reflect the warmer oceanic conditions adjacent to the sub-Mediterranean zone. 

Towards the east of its range, this habitat grades into the lime-oak woodlands which extend far into the Russian lowlands.  In the transitional types, Tilia cordata becomes more important in the canopy, along with occasional T. tomentosa, and Q. polycarpa and Q. dalechampii can figure among the oaks.  Further south, extending from the foothills of Austria, through Slovenia, into the Balkans, the flora has a distinct Illyrian aspect with Quercus cerris, Q. frainetto, Carpinus orientalis, Fraxinus ornus and a large contingent of herbs among which Epimedium alpinum, Erythronium dens-canis, Hellebrous dumetorum ssp. atrorubens, Knautia drymeia, Cyclamen purpurescens, Staphyles pinnata and Helleborus odorus are the most frequent.

Indicators of good quality:

  • Typical structure and composition of canopy: High forest stands should have a complex composition with a mixed age structure, well-developed understorey and active regeneration but diverse patterns of exploitation mean that there are numerous other quality states for this habitat and this also affects the kinds of regeneration that can occur.
  • Typical flora and fauna composition of the region
  • Presence of old trees and a variety of dead wood (lying and standing) and the associated flora, fauna and fungi
  • Presence of mosaics of developmental stages including gaps
  • Sufficient proportion of historically old (ancient) woodland with high species diversity
  • Survival of larger stands of forest without fragmentation and isolation
  • Absnce of non-native tree species and absence of invasive aliens in all layers (fauna, flora).
  • No eutrophication and pronounced invasion of nutrient-demanding herbs due to eutrophication from atmospheric deposition or ground-water enrichment

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

This mesic deciduous woodland type is evaluated Near Threatened (NT) because of a moderate decline in area affecting relatively large parts of the area (criterion C/D1). The habitat is assessed Least concern (LC) with respect to all other criteria, because the calculated trend in area over the lats 50 years is relatively low (-10%, criterion A) and this forest type is widespread in Europe.
EU
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Near Threatened C/D1
Europe
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Near Threatened C/D1

Confidence in the assessment

medium
Red List of habitat categories and criteria descriptions

Pressures and threats

  • Sylviculture, forestry
    • Forest and Plantation management & use
  • Biological resource use other than agriculture & forestry
    • Damage caused by game (excess population density)
  • Pollution
    • Air pollution, air-borne pollutants
  • Natural System modifications
    • Water abstractions from groundwater
    • Anthropogenic reduction of habitat connectivity

Habitat restoration potential

Severe damage will require a very long time for recovery because of the high species diversity of this forest type including many ancient woodland species with low dispersal capacity and requirements for a mesic woodland climate.

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Stable Stable
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Decreasing Decreasing
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

Management and restoration should be directed to maintanance of large, unfragmented stands of ancient woodland with a rich structure of native shrubs and trees and a mosaic of developmental stages including gaps. Where woodlands are grazed, this should not be so intensive as to prevent regeneration.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to agriculture and open habitats
    • Other agriculture-related measures
  • Measures related to forests and wooded habitats
    • Adapt forest management

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 480 Stable Increasing
Belgium Present 1200 Increasing Increasing
Bulgaria Present 3200 Decreasing Decreasing
Croatia Present 5430 Stable Increasing
Czech Republic Present 1574 Decreasing Decreasing
Denmark Present 105 Stable Unknown
Estonia Uncertain unknown Unknown Unknown
Finland mainland Present 12 Stable Stable
Aland Islands Present 12 Stable Stable
France mainland Present 24875 Decreasing Unknown
Germany Present 1170 Decreasing Decreasing
Hungary Present 2430 Stable Stable
Ireland Present 50 Stable Stable
Italy mainland Present 2223 Stable Stable
Latvia Present 62 Decreasing Decreasing
Lithuania Present 1500 Decreasing Decreasing
Luxembourg Present unknown Unknown Unknown
Netherlands Present 64 Decreasing Decreasing
Poland Present 738 Decreasing Decreasing
Portugal mainland Present 8 Unknown Increasing
Romania Present 6050 Stable Stable
Slovakia Present 2133 Decreasing Stable
Slovenia Present 286 Stable Stable
Spain mainland Present 485 Decreasing Decreasing
Sweden Present unknown Unknown Unknown
United Kingdom Present 5000 Decreasing Stable
Northern Island Present 5000 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)
Bosnia and Herzegovina Present 2260 Decreasing Decreasing
Kaliningrad Uncertain unknown Unknown Unknown
Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Present 40 Decreasing Stable
Norway Mainland Present 177 Decreasing Decreasing
Svalbard Uncertain 177 Decreasing Decreasing
Serbia Uncertain unknown Unknown Unknown
Switzerland Present 100 Decreasing Stable
Montenegro Present 186 Unknown Unknown
Kosovo Uncertain 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 6162400 16975 59075 No data for Sweden
EU28+ 17679 61661 No data for Sweden
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.
Ferns Asplenium scolopendrium
Ferns Athyrium filix-femina
Ferns Dryopteris filix-mas
Ferns Polystichum setiferum
Flowering Plants Acer platanoides
Flowering Plants Acer pseudoplatanus
Flowering Plants Adoxa moschatellina
Flowering Plants Aegopodium podagraria
Flowering Plants Ajuga reptans
Flowering Plants Allium ursinum
Flowering Plants Anemone nemorosa
Flowering Plants Arum maculatum
Flowering Plants Asarum europaeum
Flowering Plants Brachypodium sylvaticum
Flowering Plants Campanula trachelium
Flowering Plants Carex montana
Flowering Plants Carex sylvatica
Flowering Plants Carpinus betulus
Flowering Plants Carpinus orientalis
Flowering Plants Circaea lutetiana
Flowering Plants Cornus sanguinea
Flowering Plants Corylus avellana
Flowering Plants Crataegus laevigata
Flowering Plants Crataegus monogyna
Flowering Plants Daphne mezereum
Flowering Plants Deschampsia cespitosa
Flowering Plants Epimedium alpinum
Flowering Plants Erythronium dens-canis
Flowering Plants Euonymus europaeus
Flowering Plants Fagus sylvatica
Flowering Plants Festuca gigantea
Flowering Plants Fragaria vesca
Flowering Plants Fraxinus excelsior
Flowering Plants Fraxinus ornus
Flowering Plants Galium odoratum
Flowering Plants Galium schultesii
Flowering Plants Galium sylvaticum
Flowering Plants Geranium robertianum
Flowering Plants Geum urbanum
Flowering Plants Hedera helix
Flowering Plants Helleborus odorus
Flowering Plants Helleborus viridis
Flowering Plants Hepatica nobilis
Flowering Plants Hyacinthoides non-scripta
Flowering Plants Ilex aquifolium
Flowering Plants Impatiens noli-tangere
Flowering Plants Knautia drymeia
Flowering Plants Lamiastrum galeobdolon
Flowering Plants Lathyrus vernus
Flowering Plants Laurus nobilis
Flowering Plants Leucojum vernum
Flowering Plants Ligustrum vulgare
Flowering Plants Lonicera periclymenum
Flowering Plants Lonicera xylosteum
Flowering Plants Melica uniflora
Flowering Plants Mercurialis perennis
Flowering Plants Milium effusum
Flowering Plants Mycelis muralis
Flowering Plants Oxalis acetosella
Flowering Plants Paris quadrifolia
Flowering Plants Poa nemoralis
Flowering Plants Polygonatum multiflorum
Flowering Plants Primula veris
Flowering Plants Prunus avium
Flowering Plants Pulmonaria affinis
Flowering Plants Pulmonaria obscura
Flowering Plants Pulmonaria officinalis
Flowering Plants Quercus cerris
Flowering Plants Quercus ilex
Flowering Plants Quercus robur
Flowering Plants Ranunculus auricomus
Flowering Plants Ranunculus ficaria
Flowering Plants Rhamnus alaternus
Flowering Plants Rosa arvensis
Flowering Plants Sambucus nigra
Flowering Plants Sanicula europaea
Flowering Plants Scrophularia nodosa
Flowering Plants Smilax aspera
Flowering Plants Sorbus aucuparia
Flowering Plants Sorbus torminalis
Flowering Plants Stachys sylvatica
Flowering Plants Stellaria holostea
Flowering Plants Tilia cordata
Flowering Plants Ulmus glabra
Flowering Plants Viburnum opulus
Flowering Plants Vinca minor
Flowering Plants Viola reichenbachiana
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Asplenium scolopendrium Ferns
Athyrium filix-femina Ferns
Dryopteris filix-mas Ferns
Polystichum setiferum Ferns
Acer platanoides Flowering Plants
Acer pseudoplatanus Flowering Plants
Adoxa moschatellina Flowering Plants
Aegopodium podagraria Flowering Plants
Ajuga reptans Flowering Plants
Allium ursinum Flowering Plants
Anemone nemorosa Flowering Plants
Arum maculatum Flowering Plants
Asarum europaeum Flowering Plants
Brachypodium sylvaticum Flowering Plants
Campanula trachelium Flowering Plants
Carex montana Flowering Plants
Carex sylvatica Flowering Plants
Carpinus betulus Flowering Plants
Carpinus orientalis Flowering Plants
Circaea lutetiana Flowering Plants
Cornus sanguinea Flowering Plants
Corylus avellana Flowering Plants
Crataegus laevigata Flowering Plants
Crataegus monogyna Flowering Plants
Daphne mezereum Flowering Plants
Deschampsia cespitosa Flowering Plants
Epimedium alpinum Flowering Plants
Erythronium dens-canis Flowering Plants
Euonymus europaeus Flowering Plants
Fagus sylvatica Flowering Plants
Festuca gigantea Flowering Plants
Fragaria vesca Flowering Plants
Fraxinus excelsior Flowering Plants
Fraxinus ornus Flowering Plants
Galium odoratum Flowering Plants
Galium schultesii Flowering Plants
Galium sylvaticum Flowering Plants
Geranium robertianum Flowering Plants
Geum urbanum Flowering Plants
Hedera helix Flowering Plants
Helleborus odorus Flowering Plants
Helleborus viridis Flowering Plants
Hepatica nobilis Flowering Plants
Hyacinthoides non-scripta Flowering Plants
Ilex aquifolium Flowering Plants
Impatiens noli-tangere Flowering Plants
Knautia drymeia Flowering Plants
Lamiastrum galeobdolon Flowering Plants
Lathyrus vernus Flowering Plants
Laurus nobilis Flowering Plants
Leucojum vernum Flowering Plants
Ligustrum vulgare Flowering Plants
Lonicera periclymenum Flowering Plants
Lonicera xylosteum Flowering Plants
Melica uniflora Flowering Plants
Mercurialis perennis Flowering Plants
Milium effusum Flowering Plants
Mycelis muralis Flowering Plants
Oxalis acetosella Flowering Plants
Paris quadrifolia Flowering Plants
Poa nemoralis Flowering Plants
Polygonatum multiflorum Flowering Plants
Primula veris Flowering Plants
Prunus avium Flowering Plants
Pulmonaria affinis Flowering Plants
Pulmonaria obscura Flowering Plants
Pulmonaria officinalis Flowering Plants
Quercus cerris Flowering Plants
Quercus ilex Flowering Plants
Quercus robur Flowering Plants
Ranunculus auricomus Flowering Plants
Ranunculus ficaria Flowering Plants
Rhamnus alaternus Flowering Plants
Rosa arvensis Flowering Plants
Sambucus nigra Flowering Plants
Sanicula europaea Flowering Plants
Scrophularia nodosa Flowering Plants
Smilax aspera Flowering Plants
Sorbus aucuparia Flowering Plants
Sorbus torminalis Flowering Plants
Stachys sylvatica Flowering Plants
Stellaria holostea Flowering Plants
Tilia cordata Flowering Plants
Ulmus glabra Flowering Plants
Viburnum opulus Flowering Plants
Vinca minor Flowering Plants
Viola reichenbachiana 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 G1.A Meso- and eutrophic Quercus, Carpinus, Fraxinus, Acer, Tilia, Ulmus and related woodland narrower
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