Red List habitat classification > RLG - Forests > RLG3.Db Picea mire woodland

Picea mire woodland

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLG3.Db
Threat status
Europe Data Deficient
EU Endangered
Relation to
Source European Red List habitat factsheet
European Red List of habitats reports
European Red List of habitats (Excel table)


These are coniferous woodlands of shallow to deep peats and peaty mineral soils sustained by high ground water in gentle depressions on plains, on river terraces and at the margins of treeless mires throughout the boreal and more locally in the nemoral zones. Picea mire woodland can occur on ombrotrophic active bog surface on deep peat, but is more often found on minerotrophic peats or on shallower peaty soils at mire margins, though in drier regions being more extensive on the mire surface. Tree cover can be sparse with low-growing individuals when the associated flora is very similar to the open bog or mire surface while, under more closed canopies, shade-tolerant species prevail. An uneven age structure among the trees is characteristic of natural sites. Picea abies tends to be the canopy dominant in extensive stands on a hummock-dominated peat surface, or sometimes a more pronounced hummock-hollow micro-topography on the peat surface. Sometimes Abies alba is (co-)dominant in more minerotrophic conditions. Betula pubescens, Pinus sylvestris and Salix spp. are common associates sometimes with Alnus glutinosa and A. incana admixed in somewhat less oligotrophic situations. Picea abies ssp.obovata is a dominant subspecies vicariating with P. abies ssp. abies  in northeastern parts of Europe. The field layer has such dwarf shrubs as Vaccinium myrtillus, V. vitis-idaea, V. uliginosum, V. oxycoccos, Ledum palustre, Chamaedaphne calyculata, with herbs and sedges like Melampyrum pratense, Rubus chamaemorus, Eriophorum vaginatum, Carex globularis as well as  peat-forming Sphagna like S. angustifolium, S. centrale, S. girgensohnii,  S. palustre,  S. magellanicum and S. russowii with big pleurocarpous mosses on drier hummocks. In more mesothrophic conditions, herbs like Equisetum sylvaticum, Dryopteris carthusiana, Trientalis europaea, and graminoids like Calamagrostis purpurea, Carex canescens and Carex loliacea are common. Trickles of moving water can even sustain species such as Calla palustris, Menyanthes trifoliata, Equisetum fluviatile, E. palustre and Comarum palustre.

Indicators of quality:

•       No forest exploitations.

•       Intact natural mire hydrology.

•       Natural composition of canopy with dominant Picea spp.

•       Structural diversity/ -complexity with (semi)natural age structure or completeness of layers.

•       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.

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

•       No signs of eutrophication or pollution.

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

The habitat is assessed as Endangered under criterion A1 in the EU 28, as there has been a 51% decline in its quantity within the last 50 years. However, the area of the habitat is currently stable, as drainage of new peatland sites for forestry is not practiced any more in Northern Europe. There has also been a slight decline in the quality of this habitat, affecting 33% of its extent in the EU 28 in the last 50 years. The habitat quality continues to decrease in most EU 28 countries. Trend data on reduction in quantity were missing from Austria, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Serbia. Trend data on reduction in quality was missing from Austria, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Serbia and Slovakia. Six of the countries (including Norway) reported their data of this type combined with the type G3.Db Pinus mire woodland. This habitat type is assessed as Data Deficient at the EU 28+ since a relatively large part of its area may lie within Norway, but precise values are unknown due to the combination of this habitat type with type G3. Db Picea mire woodland. Classification of spruce-dominated peatland forests varies between the countries, and there is a risk that providers of territorial data do not have a common understanding about what kind of habitats are included in this type.
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Endangered A1
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Data Deficient -

Confidence in the assessment

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
  • Transportation and service corridors
    • Roads, motorways
  • Pollution
    • Nitrogen-input
  • Natural System modifications
    • Other human induced changes in hydraulic conditions
  • Climate change
    • Temperature changes (e.g. rise of temperature & extremes)
    • Habitat shifting and alteration

Habitat restoration potential

The habitat has the potential to recover, but recovery will be very slow. It always requires restoration of hydrological conditions.

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Stable Unknown
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Decreasing Unknown
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

The most common approaches currently involve establishing protected areas/sites, establishing wilderness areas, restoring/improving habitats, usually by restoring hydrological conditions, and adapting forest management. Some of the additional actions needed include further optimizing the use of funds for conservation (what kind of areas are chosen for conservation and where), further improving methods for conservation/nature management in managed forests (e.g. regarding deadwood), adaptation of spatial planning (roads, etc.), and bringing climate change under control.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to forests and wooded habitats
    • Restoring/Improving forest habitats
    • Adapt forest management
  • Measures related to wetland, freshwater and coastal habitats
    • Restoring/Improving the hydrological regime
  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Establish protected areas/sites
    • Establishing wilderness areas/allowing succession


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)
Austria Present 0-10 Decreasing Unknown
Bulgaria Present 1.5 Decreasing Decreasing
Czech Republic Present 100 Decreasing Stable
Estonia Present 6 Unknown Increasing
Finland mainland Present 4,780 Decreasing Decreasing
Aland Islands Present 4,780 Decreasing Decreasing
France mainland Present 0-80 Decreasing Increasing
Corsica Uncertain 0-80 Decreasing Increasing
Germany Present 110 Decreasing Decreasing
Italy mainland Present 0-16 Decreasing Stable
Sardinia Uncertain 0-16 Decreasing Stable
Sicily Uncertain 0-16 Decreasing Stable
Latvia Present 2 Decreasing Decreasing
Lithuania Present 30-35 Decreasing Decreasing
Poland Present 0.1 Unknown Unknown
Romania Present 0-50 Decreasing Decreasing
Slovakia Present 0-30 Unknown Decreasing
Sweden Present 6,380 Decreasing Decreasing
Slovenia Present 0-11 Decreasing 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)
Bosnia and Herzegovina Present Oct-20 Decreasing Decreasing
Norway Mainland Present 0-2,670 Decreasing Decreasing
Serbia Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Switzerland Present 22 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 >50000 >50 > 11420 The area is without countries which gave data on G3.D/E only
EU28+ >50 > 11457 The area is without countries which gave data on G3.D/E only
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)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100