Red List habitat classification > RLG - Forests > RLG3.8 Pinus canariensis woodland

Pinus canariensis woodland

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLG3.8
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 pine forest is dominated by the Canarian endemic Pinus canariensis, which constitutes the potential natural vegetation or dominant habitat type in the corresponding vegetation belts of the western Canary Islands, where volcanic mountains reach sufficient elevation. It occupies an altitudinal range between 1,250 and 2,000-2,300 m on northern slopes, above the cloud layer (mar de nubes) caused by the trade winds. There it occurs above the lauroid forest belt (monteverde), while on southern slopes it is in contact with the xerophytic lowland Canarian habitats with junipers. Locally, on rocky outcrops, it can extend down to 500 m and it is also a colonizer of lava depositions (malpaíses). These woodlands vary from open to dense depending on the soil and slope conditions, and consist of pine stands in most places, having an understory of woody legumes (Adenocarpus viscosus, Chamaecytisus proliferus), Lamiaceae (Bystropogon origanifolius, Sideritis soluta) and Cistaceae (Cistus symphytifolius). They are out of the mist influence of the cloud layer and subsist under dry sunny conditions.

This habitat is the remnant of an ancient forest which was widespread in the western Mediterranean basin in the late Tertiary period (remnants have also been found in southern France and mainland Spain), but it is now only restricted to the Canary Islands, hosting lineages of a genuine Mediterranean flora. Stands have been extensively logged in the past due to their timber value and they continue to be exploited as an important resource, particularly in artificial plantations located on deep soils and in the moister areas naturally occupied by the lauroid forest. The Canary Pine (Pinus canariensis) is a fire-adapted tree, with a thick bark that resists fire and the capacity to resprout.

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

The habitat type is assessed as Least Concern on the basis of its stable trends in quantity and quality, and the fact that there are no known plausible threats that may induce collapse in the near future to the habitat. However, it has a very restricted distribution and it is recommended that the threats and trends are periodically monitored.
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

  • Invasive, other problematic species and genes
    • Invasive non-native species
  • Natural System modifications
    • Fire and fire suppression

Habitat restoration potential

The habitat recovers very well naturally after disturbances. Some of them, like forest fires, occur naturally in the system. However, other severe damages like logging or heavy goat grazing disable natural regeneration, thus threatening the capacity of the habitat to recover naturally.

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Stable Stable
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Stable Stable
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

Significant areas or natural Pinus canariensis forest are under protection, which is leading to relatively good conservation status. It is recommended to continue with this protection policy. Additionally, urgent management actions are suggested to address common problems in reforested areas (high density, regular spatial distribution, lack of dead wood). Measures suggested include tackling the issue of invasive alien species and the inclusion of disturbances (including fire) to reduce density to 300-600 trees/ha (more similar to natural forest). Repeated fire occurrences and disturbances may favor other characteristic species, like the Great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major), which needs standing dead trees to breed. This species is currently absent in reforested areas.

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
    • Establish protected areas/sites
    • Legal protection of habitats and species
  • Measures related to hunting, taking and fishing and species management
    • Other species 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)
Canary Islands Present 395 Stable 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)

Extent of Occurrence, Area of Occupancy and habitat area

Extent of Occurrence (EOO) (Km2) Area of Occupancy (AOO) Current estimated Total Area Comment
EU28 27300 42 395 Based on distribution maps
EU28+ 42 395 Based on distribution maps
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.
Birds Dendrocopos major canariensis
Birds Dendrocopos major thanneri
Birds Fringilla teydea
Conifers Juniperus cedrus
Conifers Pinus canariensis
Flowering Plants Ailanthus altissima
Flowering Plants Isoplexis isabelliana
Flowering Plants Pennisetum setaceum
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Dendrocopos major canariensis Great Spotted Woodpecker (Teneriffe subspecies) Birds
Dendrocopos major thanneri Birds
Fringilla teydea Blue Chaffinch Birds
Juniperus cedrus Conifers
Pinus canariensis Conifers
Ailanthus altissima Flowering Plants
Isoplexis isabelliana Flowering Plants
Pennisetum setaceum 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 G3.8 Canary Island Pinus canariensis woodland same
European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100