Red List habitat classification > RLG - Forests > RLG2.6 Ilex aquifolium woodland

Ilex aquifolium woodland

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLG2.6
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 is a woodland habitat defined on the sole (and ecologically questionable) basis of dominance by arborescent individuals of Ilex aquifolium without other co-dominant trees. Originally recognised as occurring in the supra-Mediterranean belt where stands occur in Sardinia and Corsica and in Atlantic mountains of northwestern Spain, it was there considered as mostly a facies of relict G3.9 Taxus baccata woodland. Other scattered occurrences exist in the nemoral zone of western Europe, in the UK for example, where they are probably facies of G1.6 Fagus woodland or G1.8 acidophilous Quercus woodland. Ilex was long exploited as a winter fodder for stock and this may account for its local abundance in landscapes where pasturing was combined with silviculture. Global warming contributes to its current successful colonization of a variety of forest types, more northern and eastern (suboceanic) in distribution than before.

Indicators of good quality:

● The dominance of Ilex aquifolium (whatever its origin) remains the key indicator of quality here

● Survival of the associated flora is inherited from the original woodland from which this habitat was derived

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

The habitat is Least concern (LC) due to its stable to increasing area and increasing range. Quality indicators are not available for this Ilex dominated forest type.
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

  • No threats or pressures
    • No threats or pressures

Habitat restoration potential

Ilex is a very tough species and the forest type can withstand pressures such as high grazing and coppicing. It (re)colonizes quickly and can reach dominance after about 50 year, depending on seed sources.

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Increasing Increasing
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Stable Stable
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

This forest type does not require any management. Generally Ilex-dominance occurs in mosaic with other forest types from which it derived.

List of conservation and management needs

  • No measures
    • No measures needed for the conservation of the habitat/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)
France mainland Present 17 Stable Stable
Corsica Present 17 Stable Stable
Ireland Present 1 Unknown Unknown
Italy mainland Present 19 Decreasing Stable
Sicily Present 19 Decreasing Stable
Netherlands Present 1 Stable Increasing
Portugal mainland Present 7 Unknown Increasing
Spain mainland Present 31 Stable Stable
United Kingdom Present 25 Increasing Stable
Northern Island Present 25 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)
Switzerland Present Stable 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 3326400 369 101
EU28+ 371 101
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
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