Red List habitat classification > RLG - Forests > RLG2.1 Mediterranean evergreen Quercus woodland

Mediterranean evergreen Quercus woodland

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLG2.1
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)


This woodland habitat is naturally dominated by evergreen oaks with associated broadleaved sclerophyllous and lauriphyllous evergreen trees and shrubs adapted to the summer drought of the thermo-mediterranean climate. Stands have been modified in various degrees due to long histories of exploitation, clearance and regrowth, as well as by natural disturbance from fires, disease and insect infestation, interventions which affect both the structure and species composition of stands. Transitional degraded stages  of these woodlands to maquis and garrigues, are widespread throughout the distribution area of the habitat; in some regions there are transitions to the savannah-like vegetation of dehesas (Spain) or montado (Portugal) (Annex I habitat type 6310: Dehesas with evergreen Quercus), where the underlying vegetation can be largely unshaded pasture quite different from the associated flora of this woodland. In representative stands of this habitat, the tree canopy can be up to 15m (or more) high,  although it is often lower; the layer beneath the oaks tree canopy typically consists of other sclerophyllous or lauriphyllous species, as well as few deciduous tree and shrub species. Different dominants and co-dominants and associates prevail in different regions and on different terrains; Q. ilex is the most widespread oak in these woodlands largely occurring on base-rich substrata throughout the meso-Mediterranean altitudinal belt. Quercus ilex subsp. ilex occurring from northern and western Iberia through France to the Adriatic region and Greece is the dominant species and the deciduous oak species Q. pubescens participant at the tree layer; Pinus halepensis is also a component of these woods in the Balkan peninsula localities. Q. ilex subsp. rotundifolia is extensive in Portugal and Spain in rather drier sites and more common in dehesas. Quercus coccifera is also widespread and often replaces Q. ilex around the Aegean, dominating in distinctive woodlands of Crete but elsewhere is less common in woodlands and mostly dominates maquis vegetation derived both from evergreen oak woodlands and thermophilous broadleaved woodlands. Q. alnifolia also dominates in some distinctive woodlands of Cyprus. Q. suber is primarily a western Mediterranean tree demanding moister climatic conditions than other evergreen oaks (500-1000mm annual precipitation) and can replace Q. ilex on more acidic and less fertile soils. Quercus suber is mainly distributed in Spain and Portugal and extends eastwards to a coastal belt in southern Italy; Q. suber has been of great commercial interest for its cork bark and acorns being a subsidiary crop used for feeding pigs. In cases that the evergreen oak woodlands occur on coastal dunes throughout the Mediterranean zone, these are considered part of the EUNIS habitat B1.7b: Mediterranean wooded dunes with Quercus spp.

Indicators of quality:

  • No forest exploitations, especially in sub-type dominated by Q. suber no cork harvesting and forest management for ecological improvement purposes
  • 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 need large undisturbed forests)
  • 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 the EU28 and EU28+. The current trend in quantity is stable or increasing. Only in Italy and Spain a decreasing quality trend has been reported. The most important reason for the decline in quality has been cork exploitation and forest management. Overall an improvement of quality is expected due to more forest stands reaching maturity stage.
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
    • Forest and Plantation management & use
    • Grazing in forests/ woodland
    • Forestry activities not referred to above
  • Urbanisation, residential and commercial development
    • Urbanised areas, human habitation
  • Human intrusions and disturbances
    • Outdoor sports and leisure activities, recreational activities
  • Natural System modifications
    • Fire and fire suppression
  • Geological events, natural catastrophes
    • Collapse of terrain, landslide
  • Climate change
    • Changes in abiotic conditions

Habitat restoration potential

The natural regeneration capacity of the key species plays a crucial role in recovering of this habitat type after damage; no additional actions are necessary to be taken, except avoiding disturbances on natural succession process.

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Increasing Increasing
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Increasing Increasing
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

The suggested conservation approach for this habitat could be the adoption and implementation of an appropriate forest management plan with mild interventions; the applied management measures would allow for a structural improvement of these woodlands with more stands reaching at maturity stage. Through the abandonment of cork exploitation and/or woodland grazing, the Q. suber woodlands might turn into Q. ilex or mixed Q. ilex / Q. suber woodlands.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to forests and wooded habitats
    • Adapt forest management
  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Establish protected areas/sites
    • Legal protection of habitats and species


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)
Croatia Present 361 Stable Stable
Cyprus Present 94 Increasing Increasing
France mainland Present 4000 Stable Increasing
Corsica Present 4000 Stable Increasing
Greece (mainland and other islands) Present 1837 Increasing Stable
Italy mainland Present 8050 Decreasing Stable
Sardinia Present 8050 Decreasing Stable
Sicily Present 8050 Decreasing Stable
Portugal mainland Present 2930 Unknown Increasing
Slovenia Present 0.5 Stable Stable
Spain mainland Present 31855 Stable Increasing
Balearic Islands Present 31855 Stable Increasing
Crete Present 1837 Increasing Stable
East Aegean Present 1837 Increasing 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 10 Stable Increasing
Montenegro Present 10 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 3916450 8142 17272
EU28+ 8425 17292
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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