Red List habitat classification > RLG - Forests > RLG3.9b Mediterranean Cupressaceae woodland

Mediterranean Cupressaceae woodland

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLG3.9b
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)

Summary

This habitat combines conifer woods dominated by Cupressus sempervirens and/or various juniper species, including Juniperus excelsa, J. drupacea, J. foetidissima and J. thurifera. The few stands of Juniperus phoenicea and J. oxycedrus that qualify as woodlands are also attributed in this unit. The following sub-types can be distinguished: • Natural Cupressus sempervirens-dominated woodlands are found in South Anatolia, Cyprus, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyrenaica and the islands of southeast Greece, while isolated occurrences are also reported in Iran, Tunisia and Morocco. They form moderately open (cover ca. 60%) to open canopies often with thermophillous coastal pines (Pinus halepensis, P. brutia) or forming mixed stands with Acer sempervirens and Quercus coccifera. The woodlands are found on mountainous rocky slopes, in a wide range of altitudes, slopes and expositions. C. sempervirens form stands from the thermo- to the upper levels of the supra-Mediterranean zones and exhibits no clear preference for geological substrate, growing on shallow and dry to deep and moist soils. • Juniperus excelsa woodlands are distributed throughout the eastern Mediterranean, from the southern and central Balkans (Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, FYROM), through Anatolia (regionally widespread and continuously distributed along the Taurus chain in southern Anatolia), to Ukraine and Crimea, central and southwest Asia (Turkmenistan, Cyprus, Iran, Lebanon, Syria), Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia) and east Africa (Quézel and Médail 2003). The species does not occur in regions with annual precipitation below 500 mm. In the Balkan peninsula, the altitudinal range of distribution is from 100 to 1300 m, yet in Turkey it goes up to 2200 m. It occurs in xerothermic sites, most frequently on limestone, diabase or serpentine, and often forms rather small, almost pure associations. • Juniperus foetidissima woodlands are found in mountainous areas of the eastern Mediterranean region, mainly in the central and south Balkans (Albania, FYROM, Greece), Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, Asiatic Turkey (rare or absent on the interior plateau), SE Caucasus to the coast of the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan, along the coast of the Black Sea near Novorossiysk and in the Crimea (Farjon 1992). The Juniperus excelsa and J. foetididissima woodlands exhibit growth plasticity and can adapt to the soil dryness of the mountainous rocky slopes, forming the human-induced tree limits. They mainly occur on limestones in the meso- to upper supra-Mediterannean zone. Their canopy is moderately open (cover ca 60%) to open (cover <50%). Deciduous elements in the canopy are not uncommon, as for example Fraxinus ornus, Carpinus orientalis and Quercus pubescens, while at the higher altitudes the junipers are often associated with Astracantha cretica, Daphne oleoides and Stipa pennata. • Juniperus drupacea woodlands are distributed in the Mediterranean, where they occur in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Southern Turkey and two mountain locations in Greece (the species just reaches southeastern Europe). In the south Peloponnese mountains in Greece (Parnon and Taigetos), they occupy somewhat extended areas, but in general these woodlands are more widespread outside Europe in Turkey and the Middle East. Within this distribution range, J. drupacea forms mixed montane conifer forests with Abies cilicica, A. cephalonica, Pinus brutia, P. nigra, Cedrus libani, Juniperus excelsa, J. foetidissima, J. oxycedrus, Quercus coccifera, Q. ilex and sometimes with Fagus orientalis. Much of its habitat has been modified into maquis vegetation. It grows on shallow, rocky soils, usually on calcareous or granite rocks at altitudes of between 600-1800 m and occurs in small groups or as solitary trees mixed with other conifer species. • Juniperus thurifera woodlands are scattered throughout the western Mediterranean basin and are relicts from the Tertiary distribution of the species pattern, a now disjunct spread occurring from Algeria and Morocco over the Iberian Peninsula and the Pyrenees to the French and Italian Alps and to Corsica. In general, these woodlands occur in a wide ecological amplitude, forming open stands from an altitude of 140m in Spain to more than 3000m in Mt. Atlas, Morocco. More specifically, and in contrast to the situation in Europe and Algeria, where J. thurifera occurs from 200 to 1800m, the Moroccan stands are associated with sub-humid cold winter bioclimates at the tree line, mainly between elevations of 1800 and 3150m. In Algeria, thuriferous juniper is limited to the Aurès mountains with a number of scattered and often very large trees that are probably the remains of formerly more extensive stands. The Juniperus thurifera woodlands are found on various substrates, slopes and inclinations of the supra-Mediterranean zone. The juniper is often associated with Pinus nigra subsp. nigra, Quercus pubescens, Q. ilex and other Juniper species. • Woodlands of Tetraclinis articulata are restricted to the dry coastal region of Cartagena in south-east Spain (regarding Europe), where these occur as scattered stands with a typical maquis understorey; in North Africa these woodlands are widespread in lowland areas of Morocco and Algeria. Since the canopy of all Cupressaceae woodlands is open, the presence of typical woodland species in the ground-flora is expected to be relatively limited, while, on the other hand, perennial steppe species are expected to dominate

Indicators of quality:

  • No forest exploitations (if applicable, mainly azonal types with high nature value)
  • Natural composition of canopy
  • Structural diversity/ complexity with (semi)natural age structure or completeness of layers
  • Typical flora and fauna composition
  • 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)
  • Absence of non-native species in all layers (flora & fauna)    
  • No man-induced very high population levels of ungulates
  • Absence of i) soil trampling signs, ii)  deformation of woody species due to over-browsing, iii) logging, iv) fire signs, v) ruderal taxa.

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

Although the quantitive data for quality are lacking for almost half of the countries where the habitat is distributed, the Red List Criteria qualify for a Least Concern Status. This assessment is due to the extensive distribution in across the Mediterranean, the reduction in area has been small (mostly stable or slight reduction) and the quality decline occurs over small proportion of the total area.
EU
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Least Concern -
Europe
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Least Concern -

Confidence in the assessment

medium
Red List of habitat categories and criteria descriptions

Pressures and threats

  • Sylviculture, forestry
    • Forestry clearance
    • Removal of forest undergrowth
    • Forest exploitation without replanting or natural regrowth
    • Grazing in forests/ woodland
  • Natural System modifications
    • Burning down
    • Reduction or loss of specific habitat features
    • Anthropogenic reduction of habitat connectivity
  • Natural biotic and abiotic processes (without catastrophes)
    • Species composition change (succession)

Habitat restoration potential

The recovery of this habitat should only be based on natural processes (spontaneous regeneration), under the precondition that a well worked out management plan will be implemented regulating the grazing and thus the survival of the seedlings from the trampling and browsing.

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Increasing Stable
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Stable Stable
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

According to the present knowledge, no specific management measures are implemented within the distribution area of this habitat (EU28, EU28+); it is rather not necessary for the conservation of the Mediterranean Cupressaceae woodlands, due also to the changes in the pastoral systems and the abandonment of villages. Permanent plots monitoring of the structural elements (including their floristic composition) would support the restoration measures to be undertaken in the cases of unfavorable conservation status. The management measures should be in the direction of keeping the openings among the sparsely distributed Juniperus spp. and Cupressus woodlands.

List of conservation and management needs

  • No measures
    • No measures needed for the conservation of the habitat/species
  • Measures related to forests and wooded habitats
    • Restoring/Improving forest habitats

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)
Cyprus Present 5.84 Stable Stable
Greece (mainland and other islands) Present 500.6 Stable Increasing
Italy mainland Present 1.7 Decreasing Increasing
Portugal mainland Present 50 Unknown Increasing
Spain mainland Present 1089.27 Stable Stable
Sardinia Present 1.7 Decreasing Increasing
Sicily Present 1.7 Decreasing Increasing
Crete Present 500.6 Stable Increasing
France mainland Present 28 Stable Stable
Bulgaria Present 6 Decreasing Stable
East Aegean Present 500.6 Stable Increasing
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 32 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 2558850 770 1713 Based on the existing data provided by EU Member States. This number is well representing the current actual total area.
EU28+ 770 32 Based on the data provided by one of the EU28+ countries. This number is partially and with uncertainty representing the current actual total area.
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.
Conifers Abies cephalonica
Conifers Cedrus libani
Conifers Cupressus sempervirens
Conifers Ephedra fragilis
Conifers Ephedra major
Conifers Juniperus communis
Conifers Juniperus drupacea
Conifers Juniperus excelsa
Conifers Juniperus foetidissima
Conifers Juniperus oxycedrus
Conifers Juniperus phoenicea
Conifers Juniperus thurifera
Conifers Pinus brutia
Conifers Pinus halepensis
Conifers Pinus nigra
Conifers Pinus sylvestris
Conifers Tetraclinis articulata
Flowering Plants Acer sempervirens
Flowering Plants Achillea fraasii
Flowering Plants Ajuga orientalis
Flowering Plants Asparagus acutifolius
Flowering Plants Asperula rigida
Flowering Plants Asphodelus ramosus
Flowering Plants Berberis hispanica
Flowering Plants Berteroa obliqua
Flowering Plants Calicotome infesta
Flowering Plants Carpinus orientalis
Flowering Plants Centaurea raphanina
Flowering Plants Crepis fraasii
Flowering Plants Daphne laureola
Flowering Plants Daphne oleoides
Flowering Plants Digitalis ferruginea
Flowering Plants Erica arborea
Flowering Plants Erica multiflora
Flowering Plants Euphorbia dendroides
Flowering Plants Fagus orientalis
Flowering Plants Festuca jeanpertii
Flowering Plants Fraxinus ornus
Flowering Plants Galium peloponnesiacum
Flowering Plants Hormathophylla spinosa
Flowering Plants Hyparrhenia hirta
Flowering Plants Iris unguicularis
Flowering Plants Lamyropsis cynaroides
Flowering Plants Luzula nodulosa
Flowering Plants Melica ciliata
Flowering Plants Morina persica
Flowering Plants Phillyrea latifolia
Flowering Plants Pistacia lentiscus
Flowering Plants Prasium majus
Flowering Plants Prunus prostrata
Flowering Plants Pterocephalus perennis
Flowering Plants Quercus coccifera
Flowering Plants Quercus pubescens
Flowering Plants Retama raetam
Flowering Plants Rhamnus alpinus
Flowering Plants Ruscus aculeatus
Flowering Plants Silene congesta
Flowering Plants Stipa pennata
Flowering Plants Stipa pulcherrima
Flowering Plants Teucrium fruticans
Flowering Plants Teucrium microphyllum
Flowering Plants Viburnum lantana
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Abies cephalonica Conifers
Cedrus libani Conifers
Cupressus sempervirens Conifers
Ephedra fragilis Conifers
Ephedra major Conifers
Juniperus communis Conifers
Juniperus drupacea Conifers
Juniperus excelsa Conifers
Juniperus foetidissima Conifers
Juniperus oxycedrus Conifers
Juniperus phoenicea Conifers
Juniperus thurifera Conifers
Pinus brutia Conifers
Pinus halepensis Conifers
Pinus nigra Conifers
Pinus sylvestris Conifers
Tetraclinis articulata Conifers
Acer sempervirens Flowering Plants
Achillea fraasii Flowering Plants
Ajuga orientalis Flowering Plants
Asparagus acutifolius Flowering Plants
Asperula rigida Flowering Plants
Asphodelus ramosus Flowering Plants
Berberis hispanica Flowering Plants
Berteroa obliqua Flowering Plants
Calicotome infesta Flowering Plants
Carpinus orientalis Flowering Plants
Centaurea raphanina Flowering Plants
Crepis fraasii Flowering Plants
Daphne laureola Flowering Plants
Daphne oleoides Flowering Plants
Digitalis ferruginea Flowering Plants
Erica arborea Flowering Plants
Erica multiflora Flowering Plants
Euphorbia dendroides Flowering Plants
Fagus orientalis Flowering Plants
Festuca jeanpertii Flowering Plants
Fraxinus ornus Flowering Plants
Galium peloponnesiacum Flowering Plants
Hormathophylla spinosa Flowering Plants
Hyparrhenia hirta Flowering Plants
Iris unguicularis Flowering Plants
Lamyropsis cynaroides Flowering Plants
Luzula nodulosa Flowering Plants
Melica ciliata Flowering Plants
Morina persica Flowering Plants
Phillyrea latifolia Flowering Plants
Pistacia lentiscus Flowering Plants
Prasium majus Flowering Plants
Prunus prostrata Flowering Plants
Pterocephalus perennis Flowering Plants
Quercus coccifera Flowering Plants
Quercus pubescens Flowering Plants
Retama raetam Flowering Plants
Rhamnus alpinus Flowering Plants
Ruscus aculeatus Flowering Plants
Silene congesta Flowering Plants
Stipa pennata Flowering Plants
Stipa pulcherrima Flowering Plants
Teucrium fruticans Flowering Plants
Teucrium microphyllum Flowering Plants
Viburnum lantana 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 G3.9 Coniferous woodland dominated by Cupressaceae or Taxaceae narrower
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