Red List habitat classification > RLG - Forests > RLG3.A Picea taiga woodland

Picea taiga woodland

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLG3.A
Threat status
Europe Near Threatened
EU Near Threatened
Relation to
Source European Red List habitat factsheet
European Red List of habitats reports
European Red List of habitats (Excel table)

Summary

This habitat comprises of mesic to herb-rich forest vegetation on mineral soils in the boreal and boreonemoral zones. The soils are often podzolic, but other soil types occur and the humus is raw or mull. The canopy is often dominated by Picea abies but, despite the name of the habitat, stands dominated by Pinus sylvestris or Betula pendula or mixtures of these trees are also common. Other tree species include Alnus incana, Betula pubescens, Populus tremula, Salix caprea, Sorbus aucuparia, and in the boreonemoral and southern boreal subzones also Acer platanoides, Alnus glutinosa, Quercus robur, Tilia cordata, Ulmus glabra and Ulmus laevis. Under natural conditions, forest succession will lead to the development of a Picea abies forest, but the proportions of tree species are nowadays largely regulated by forestry. The shrub layer is best developed in moist herb-rich stands, where Frangula alnus, Lonicera xylosteum, Prunus padus, Ribes spp., Rubus idaeus and other shrubs can form dense thickets. On mesic sites, by contrast, the only true shrubs are Juniperus communis, Salix caprea and other Salix spp. Understorey vegetation varies from the dwarf shrub and feather moss dominated vegetation in mesic situations to the most luxurious and species-rich herb dominated vegetation. In mesic situations, Vaccinium myrtillus usually dominates, followed by Vaccinium vitis-idaea, Linnaea borealis and, in the middle and northern boreal subzones, even Empetrum nigrum, Ledum palustre and Vaccinium uliginosum. The commonest herbs are Convallaria majalis, Dryopteris carthusiana, Epilobium angustifolium, Maianthemum bifolium, Melampyrum pratense, Melampyrum sylvaticum, Pteridium aquilinum, Solidago virgaurea and Trientalis europaea, while species like Lathyrus vernus and Oxalis acetosella grow on slightly more nutrient-rich soils. Calamagrostis arundinacea and Deschampsia flexuosa are the most abundant grasses on mesic sites. Common graminoids also include Carex digitata, Carex globularis, Deschampsia cespitosa, Luzula pilosa and Melica nutans. There is great compositional variation in the herb layer of the richer sites, depending on the geographic location, soil moisture, soil nutrient status and canopy composition. In general, the number of herb species is high, and there are also many graminoids, but dwarf shrubs are few or non-existent. However, the number of vascular species decreases towards the north of the range. In addition to species thriving on mesic sites, examples of typical herb species are Aegopodium podagraria, Anemone nemorosa, Angelica sylvestris, Anthriscus sylvestris, Athyrium filix-femina, Cirsium helenioides, Cornus suecica, Corydalis solida, Dryopteris carthusiana, Dryopteris expansa, Filipendula ulmaria, Fragaria vesca, Galium boreale, Geranium sylvaticum, Geum rivale, Gymnocarpium dryopteris, Hepatica nobilis, Matteuccia struthiopteris, Paris quadrifolia, Pulmonaria obscura, Ranunculus auricomus, Ranunculus fallax, Stellaria nemorum, and common grasses are Agrostis capillaris, Calamagrostis purpurea, Melica nutans, Milium effusum and Poa nemoralis. On mesic sites the moss layer is usually continuous and dominated by feather mosses like Pleurozium schreberi and Hylocomium splendens. Other common species are Dicranum fuscescens, D. majus, D. polysetum, D. scoparium, Polytrichum commune, Ptilium crista-castrensis and on slightly more nutrient-rich sites Climacium dendroides, Rhodobryum roseum and Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus. The abundance and number of liverwort species, like Barbilophozia lycopodioides, increases towards north. On mesic sites there may even be some terricolous lichens. On herb-rich sites, the cover of the moss layer is usually small, and feather mosses are scarce. Instead, there is a rich flora of nutrient-demanding mosses and liverworts like Brachythecium spp., Cirriphyllum piliferum, Plagiochila asplenioides, Plagiomnium spp., Plagiothecium spp., Pseudobryum cinclidioides and Rhizomnium spp. After a major disturbance such as windfall, forest fire or regeneration cutting, herbs and grasses increase, Vaccinium myrtillus declines and bryophytes decrease.

Indicators of good quality:

• 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)

• Absence of non-native species in all layers (flora & fauna)

• No signs of eutrophication or pollution

• 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 (LC) under criterion A1 (decline in quantity) in both EU28 and EU28+, as there has been a small increase in its quantity over the last 50 years. The area of the habitat is currently stable or increasing in the Nordic countries, but declining in the Baltic countries. However, in the same period there has been a reduction in the quality of this habitat, affecting 52% of its extent with moderate severity, and the habitat therefore is assessed as Near Threatened (NT) under criterion C/D1. The habitat quality continues to decrease throughout Europe. The assessment for EU28+ is the same as for EU28, but as Norway holds a relatively large part of the habitat's area, the result for the EU28+ is more uncertain. Most of the quality degradation has occurred already before the 1960's, and long-term trends may lead to a more trheatened status, but data on these decline are not available.
EU
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Near Threatened C/D1
Europe
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Near Threatened C/D1

Confidence in the assessment

high
Red List of habitat categories and criteria descriptions

Pressures and threats

  • Sylviculture, forestry
    • Forestry clearance
    • Removal of dead and dying trees
    • Thinning of tree layer
    • Forestry activities not referred to above
  • Climate change
    • Habitat shifting and alteration

Habitat restoration potential

The habitat has a capacity to recover naturally after a severe damage, but a full recovery including deadwood and species which are dependent on it will take a very long time. The rate of recovery is also dependent on the extent of the damaged area. Measures like planting trees or sowing tree seeds, planting large pieces of humus layer with attached vegetation and adding artificial deadwood is likely to fasten the process considerably.

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Increasing Increasing
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Decreasing Unknown
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

Current most common approaches are establishing protected areas/sites, establishing wilderness areas/allowing succession, restoring/improving forest habitats and adaptation of forest management. Additional actions needed are further optimizing the use of funds for conservation (what kind of areas are chosen for conservation and where), conservation of all successional stages (protection of natural old forests, creating (simulated) young successional stages of natural forests), further improving methods for conservation/nature management in managed forests (e.g. regarding deadwood) and control of overgrazing.

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
    • Establishing wilderness areas/allowing succession

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)
Estonia Present 260 Unknown Decreasing
Finland mainland Present 103428 Decreasing Increasing
Aland Islands Present 103428 Decreasing Increasing
Latvia Present 6177 Decreasing Decreasing
Lithuania Present 4000 Decreasing Decreasing
Sweden Present 171741 Decreasing Stable
Poland Present 23 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)
Norway Mainland Present 55500 Decreasing 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 1509200 9283 285629
EU28+ 10284 341129
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 Carduelis spinus
Birds Certhia familiaris
Birds Dryocopus martius
Birds Erithacus rubecula
Birds Hippolais icterina
Birds Oriolus oriolus
Birds Parus ater
Birds Parus caeruleus
Birds Parus cinctus
Birds Perisoreus infaustus
Birds Phylloscopus collybita
Birds Phylloscopus sibilatrix
Birds Phylloscopus trochiloides
Birds Picoides tridactylus
Birds Pinicola enucleator
Birds Regulus regulus
Birds Scolopax rusticola
Birds Sylvia atricapilla
Birds Sylvia borin
Birds Tetrao urogallus
Birds Troglodytes troglodytes
Birds Turdus merula
Birds Turdus philomelos
Birds Turdus viscivorus
Conifers Juniperus communis
Conifers Picea abies
Conifers Pinus sylvestris
Ferns Athyrium filix-femina
Ferns Dryopteris carthusiana
Ferns Dryopteris expansa
Ferns Gymnocarpium dryopteris
Ferns Huperzia selago
Ferns Lycopodium annotinum
Ferns Matteuccia struthiopteris
Ferns Pteridium aquilinum
Flowering Plants Acer platanoides
Flowering Plants Actaea erythrocarpa
Flowering Plants Actaea spicata
Flowering Plants Aegopodium podagraria
Flowering Plants Agrostis capillaris
Flowering Plants Alnus glutinosa
Flowering Plants Alnus incana
Flowering Plants Anemone nemorosa
Flowering Plants Angelica sylvestris
Flowering Plants Anthriscus sylvestris
Flowering Plants Betula pendula
Flowering Plants Betula pubescens
Flowering Plants Calamagrostis arundinacea
Flowering Plants Calamagrostis purpurea
Flowering Plants Carex digitata
Flowering Plants Carex globularis
Flowering Plants Circaea alpina
Flowering Plants Cirsium helenioides
Flowering Plants Convallaria majalis
Flowering Plants Cornus suecica
Flowering Plants Corydalis solida
Flowering Plants Corylus avellana
Flowering Plants Daphne mezereum
Flowering Plants Deschampsia cespitosa
Flowering Plants Deschampsia flexuosa
Flowering Plants Empetrum nigrum
Flowering Plants Epilobium angustifolium
Flowering Plants Filipendula ulmaria
Flowering Plants Fragaria vesca
Flowering Plants Frangula alnus
Flowering Plants Gagea lutea
Flowering Plants Galium boreale
Flowering Plants Geranium sylvaticum
Flowering Plants Geum rivale
Flowering Plants Hepatica nobilis
Flowering Plants Lathyrus vernus
Flowering Plants Ledum palustre
Flowering Plants Linnaea borealis
Flowering Plants Lonicera xylosteum
Flowering Plants Luzula pilosa
Flowering Plants Maianthemum bifolium
Flowering Plants Melampyrum pratense
Flowering Plants Melampyrum sylvaticum
Flowering Plants Melica nutans
Flowering Plants Milium effusum
Flowering Plants Orthilia secunda
Flowering Plants Oxalis acetosella
Flowering Plants Paris quadrifolia
Flowering Plants Poa nemoralis
Flowering Plants Populus tremula
Flowering Plants Prunus padus
Flowering Plants Pulmonaria obscura
Flowering Plants Pyrola minor
Flowering Plants Pyrola rotundifolia
Flowering Plants Quercus robur
Flowering Plants Ranunculus auricomus
Flowering Plants Ranunculus fallax
Flowering Plants Rubus idaeus
Flowering Plants Rubus saxatilis
Flowering Plants Salix caprea
Flowering Plants Solidago virgaurea
Flowering Plants Sorbus aucuparia
Flowering Plants Stellaria nemorum
Flowering Plants Tilia cordata
Flowering Plants Trientalis europaea
Flowering Plants Ulmus glabra
Flowering Plants Ulmus laevis
Flowering Plants Vaccinium myrtillus
Flowering Plants Vaccinium uliginosum
Flowering Plants Vaccinium vitis-idaea
Flowering Plants Viola riviniana
Mosses & Liverworts Aulacomnium palustre
Mosses & Liverworts Cirriphyllum piliferum
Mosses & Liverworts Climacium dendroides
Mosses & Liverworts Dicranum fuscescens
Mosses & Liverworts Hylocomium splendens
Mosses & Liverworts Pleurozium schreberi
Mosses & Liverworts Polytrichum commune
Mosses & Liverworts Pseudobryum cinclidioides
Mosses & Liverworts Ptilium crista-castrensis
Mosses & Liverworts Rhodobryum roseum
Mosses & Liverworts Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus
Mosses & Liverworts Sphagnum girgensohnii
Mosses & Liverworts Sphagnum russowii
Mosses & Liverworts Sphagnum squarrosum
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Carduelis spinus Siskin Birds
Certhia familiaris Treecreeper Birds
Dryocopus martius Black Woodpecker Birds
Erithacus rubecula Robin Birds
Hippolais icterina Icterine Warbler Birds
Oriolus oriolus Golden Oriole Birds
Parus ater Coal Tit Birds
Parus caeruleus Blue Tit Birds
Parus cinctus Siberian Tit Birds
Perisoreus infaustus Siberian Jay Birds
Phylloscopus collybita Chiffchaff Birds
Phylloscopus sibilatrix Wood Warbler Birds
Phylloscopus trochiloides Birds
Picoides tridactylus Three-toed Woodpecker Birds
Pinicola enucleator Pine Grosbeak Birds
Regulus regulus Goldcrest Birds
Scolopax rusticola Woodcock Birds
Sylvia atricapilla Blackcap Birds
Sylvia borin Garden Warbler Birds
Tetrao urogallus Capercaillie Birds
Troglodytes troglodytes Wren Birds
Turdus merula Blackbird Birds
Turdus philomelos Song Thrush Birds
Turdus viscivorus Mistle Thrush Birds
Juniperus communis Conifers
Picea abies Conifers
Pinus sylvestris Conifers
Athyrium filix-femina Ferns
Dryopteris carthusiana Ferns
Dryopteris expansa Ferns
Gymnocarpium dryopteris Ferns
Huperzia selago Ferns
Lycopodium annotinum Ferns
Matteuccia struthiopteris Ferns
Pteridium aquilinum Ferns
Acer platanoides Flowering Plants
Actaea erythrocarpa Flowering Plants
Actaea spicata Flowering Plants
Aegopodium podagraria Flowering Plants
Agrostis capillaris Flowering Plants
Alnus glutinosa Flowering Plants
Alnus incana Flowering Plants
Anemone nemorosa Flowering Plants
Angelica sylvestris Flowering Plants
Anthriscus sylvestris Flowering Plants
Betula pendula Flowering Plants
Betula pubescens Flowering Plants
Calamagrostis arundinacea Flowering Plants
Calamagrostis purpurea Flowering Plants
Carex digitata Flowering Plants
Carex globularis Flowering Plants
Circaea alpina Flowering Plants
Cirsium helenioides Flowering Plants
Convallaria majalis Flowering Plants
Cornus suecica Flowering Plants
Corydalis solida Flowering Plants
Corylus avellana Flowering Plants
Daphne mezereum Flowering Plants
Deschampsia cespitosa Flowering Plants
Deschampsia flexuosa Flowering Plants
Empetrum nigrum Flowering Plants
Epilobium angustifolium Flowering Plants
Filipendula ulmaria Flowering Plants
Fragaria vesca Flowering Plants
Frangula alnus Flowering Plants
Gagea lutea Flowering Plants
Galium boreale Flowering Plants
Geranium sylvaticum Flowering Plants
Geum rivale Flowering Plants
Hepatica nobilis Flowering Plants
Lathyrus vernus Flowering Plants
Ledum palustre Flowering Plants
Linnaea borealis Flowering Plants
Lonicera xylosteum Flowering Plants
Luzula pilosa Flowering Plants
Maianthemum bifolium Flowering Plants
Melampyrum pratense Flowering Plants
Melampyrum sylvaticum Flowering Plants
Melica nutans Flowering Plants
Milium effusum Flowering Plants
Orthilia secunda Flowering Plants
Oxalis acetosella Flowering Plants
Paris quadrifolia Flowering Plants
Poa nemoralis Flowering Plants
Populus tremula Flowering Plants
Prunus padus Flowering Plants
Pulmonaria obscura Flowering Plants
Pyrola minor Flowering Plants
Pyrola rotundifolia Flowering Plants
Quercus robur Flowering Plants
Ranunculus auricomus Flowering Plants
Ranunculus fallax Flowering Plants
Rubus idaeus Flowering Plants
Rubus saxatilis Flowering Plants
Salix caprea Flowering Plants
Solidago virgaurea Flowering Plants
Sorbus aucuparia Flowering Plants
Stellaria nemorum Flowering Plants
Tilia cordata Flowering Plants
Trientalis europaea Flowering Plants
Ulmus glabra Flowering Plants
Ulmus laevis Flowering Plants
Vaccinium myrtillus Flowering Plants
Vaccinium uliginosum Flowering Plants
Vaccinium vitis-idaea Flowering Plants
Viola riviniana Flowering Plants
Aulacomnium palustre Mosses & Liverworts
Cirriphyllum piliferum Mosses & Liverworts
Climacium dendroides Mosses & Liverworts
Dicranum fuscescens Mosses & Liverworts
Hylocomium splendens Mosses & Liverworts
Pleurozium schreberi Mosses & Liverworts
Polytrichum commune Mosses & Liverworts
Pseudobryum cinclidioides Mosses & Liverworts
Ptilium crista-castrensis Mosses & Liverworts
Rhodobryum roseum Mosses & Liverworts
Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus Mosses & Liverworts
Sphagnum girgensohnii Mosses & Liverworts
Sphagnum russowii Mosses & Liverworts
Sphagnum squarrosum Mosses & Liverworts

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.A Picea taiga woodland same
European Environment Agency (EEA)
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