Red List habitat classification > RLG - Forests > RLG3.7 Mediterranean lowland to submontane Pinus woodland

Mediterranean lowland to submontane Pinus woodland

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLG3.7
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)


Mediterranean lowland to submontane Pinus woodlands include forests of Pinus halepensis Mill., P. brutia Ten., P. pinaster Aiton and P. pinea L. These forests occur mainly within the Mediterranean biogeographic region of Europe, in areas with Csa, Csb and BSk climate type according to Köppen’s classification and play a fundamental role in shaping the Mediterranean landscape. The three former pine species are fire resilient and produce a high number of serotinous cones.

P. halepensis is distributed all over southern Europe (from Spain to European Turkey), as well as North Africa but is more widespread in the western part of its range. It grows on a variety of soils, and although it occurs more frequently on limestone and marl, it can grow also on very strong acidic soils, as those formed on gneiss (e.g. in Chalkidiki region; NE Greece). It forms stands with understory of evergreen broadleaved species (e.g. Quercus coccifera, Phillyrea latifolia, Quercus ilex, Arbutus andrachne, Arbutus unedo, Pistacia lentiscus, Smilax aspera) or phyganic species (e.g. Erica manipuliflora, Cistus The plant communities of Aleppo pine may be considered in many cases as paraclimax vegetation, although in some arid or semi-arid sites they represent mature, stable forests.

P. brutia forests are distributed in the eastern Mediterranean area. In Europe, the P. brutia forests are found at the northeastern part of the Greek mainland, at the Aegean islands (e.g. Thasos, Samos, Chios, Kos, Rhodes, Crete) and in Cyprus. They cover lowland to mountainous areas (in Cyprus they reach the altitude of 1600 m a.s.l). P. brutia forms open forests, with an understory occupied mainly by Mediterranean woody species, such as Pistacia lentiscus, Arbutus unedo, Phillyrea latifolia, Olea europaea subsp. oleaster and Rhamnus lycioides subsp. oleoides. It prefers calcareous and fissured soils, but it can be found also on siliceous ones. P. brutia often forms climax vegetation types more than its ecologically similar species, P. halepensis.

P. pinaster grows on a variety of substrates and is distributed naturally at the western Mediterranean area of Europe (Iberian Peninsula, France and Italy), as well as at the northwest part of Africa. However, it is considered indigenous only in the Iberian Peninula. It has been widely used in reforestation and afforestation. It occupies sites with an unstable substrate, where soil conditions prevent the development of Quercus forests.

P. pinea is distributed all over southern Europe (from Portugal to Greece and Cyprus), as well as in Syria and Lebanon. Its forests are more common in Spain, Portugal and Italy, while are rare in the other countries. Because of its edible seeds, much of its distribution is of artificial origin and it is difficult to determine its natural range. It grows mainly on acidic and sandy soils.

Indicators of quality:

  • Natural composition of canopy
  • Structural diversity/ complexity with (semi) natural age structure or completeness of layers (diversity of Pinus species age classes and existence of at least two - dominant and dominated - tree layers)
  • High coverage of Pinus individuals in reproductive age (indicator of increased possibilities of successful post-fire recovery and low frequency of forest fires).
  • 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
  • Absence or low cover (<5%) of non-native, of ruderal and grassland plant species in all layers
  • Adequate regeneration of Pinus species in both the herb and shrub layers, although in some cases adequate regeneration is possible only after a forest fire.
  • Existence of a shrub layer with cover higher than 50% (indicates natural formed forests and not disturbed).
  • Low levels of soil compactness, absence of trampling and erosion (especially in the form of rills and gullies), high cover of litter and well developed Ah horizon (indicates low intense of disturbances and adequate nutrient cycle).

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

The habitat type qualifies as Least Concern (LC) because it has an extensive distribution (total estimated area, EOO and AOO) across the Mediterranean and a small part also to the Continental biogeographical zones, the reduction in quantity over the past 50 years has been very small (ca 2%) and in most areas the habitat has been stable (regarding its spatial extent). The decline in quality (abiotic and/or biotic) is slight to moderate (average severity 44%) affecting 5% of the extent of the habitat throughout its distribution over the past 50 years.
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 mixed animal grazing
  • Sylviculture, forestry
    • Forest and Plantation management & use
    • Grazing in forests/ woodland
  • Transportation and service corridors
    • Roads, motorways
  • Urbanisation, residential and commercial development
    • Urbanised areas, human habitation
  • Natural System modifications
    • Burning down

Habitat restoration potential

The effects of fire on ecosystems and landscapes vary from region to region as a result of fire history, regeneration patterns and topographical constraints and depending on the species (Pinus halepensis, P. brutia and P. pinaster from the one side and P. pinea on the other side). The time for woodlands recovery also varies from 10 to 50 years. This is why we are using two alternatives (naturally and through intervention) when completing the information below on the required effort. The first choice should be to let the restoration process through natural regeneration.

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Stable Unknown
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Stable Stable
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

The changes in the traditional landscape mosaic due to the application of reforestation practices (promoted the last five decades in the Mediterranean region), as well as the implementation of forest management practices in certain Pinus woodlands throughout their range, resulted in landscapes more susceptible to fuel accumulation which may lead to increased fire occurrence. The spatial variation in fuels is the most important factor influencing fire spread and severity. It is neccessary to implement integrated management plans of the landscape features, in order that a balance between the forest policies (leading to extensive reforestation and forest plantations) and a policy-driven management alternative in abandoned agricultural land is set.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to forests and wooded habitats
    • Restoring/Improving forest habitats
    • Adapt forest management
  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Establishing wilderness areas/allowing succession
    • Manage landscape features
  • Measures related to hunting, taking and fishing and species management
    • Specific single species or species group management 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)
Croatia Present 170 Unknown Unknown
Cyprus Present 1291 Stable Stable
France mainland Present 3770 Stable Stable
Corsica Present 3770 Stable Stable
Greece (mainland and other islands) Present 6882 Increasing Increasing
Crete Present 6882 Increasing Increasing
East Aegean Present 6882 Increasing Increasing
Italy mainland Present 939 Stable Stable
Sardinia Present 939 Stable Stable
Sicily Present 939 Stable Stable
Portugal mainland Present 511 Unknown Decreasing
Spain mainland Present 140 Stable Stable
Slovenia Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
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 Unknown Unknown Unknown
Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Montenegro Present 19 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 2734150 2352 13582
EU28+ 2395 13582
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
Phone: +45 3336 7100