Red List habitat classification > RLH - Sparsely vegetated habitats > RLH2.3 Temperate high-mountain siliceous scree

Temperate high-mountain siliceous scree

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLH2.3
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 consists of siliceous, mostly acidic screes, moraines or stone rivers of high altitudes (mainly over 1000 m above sea level) and cool sites in mountain ranges of the nemoral zone of Europe, including the Alps, Pyrenees, Carpathians, central and eastern parts of Balkan Peninsula, Apennines, etc.. Scree habitats consist of rock fragments with different forms and sizes covering the frost-shattered summits of mountains or accumulating on slopes below siliceous cliffs. Siliceous screes are made up of siliceous rocks, such as quartzite, granite and sandstones.

The screes are colonised by a range of mostly perennial plant species. The vegetation consists of assemblages of mostly acidophilous or neutrophilous species. The composition is strongly influenced by altitude and geographical ranges. Siliceous screes are habitats which contain many relic and local endemic species, but less than calcareous screes. The diversity of vegetation units is also smaller compared to calcareous screes. A widespread alliance in the Alpine and Carpathian mountain systems is the Androsacion alpinae. In the Pyrenees, where the habitat is more common, two specific alliances occur: Senecionion leucophylli and Dryopteridion oreadis. The plants grow tufted between the scree stones, in places with a little soil. Typical species include Androsace alpina, A. wulfeiana, Saxifraga bryoides, Silene acaulis and Festuca picta. Another widespread species of this habitat in most European mountains is Oxyria digina.

The siliceous screes are more humid than the calcareous ones, because they have larger water-retention characteristics. The humid, humus-rich siliceous screes of the Alps, on slopes long-covered with snow, are carpeted by Luzula alpinopilosa, and accompanied by species that constitute an ecological variant of the snow patch communities. There are also communities of ferns and low semi-shrubs, including Gymnocarpium dryopteris, Cryptogramma crispa, Athyrium distentifolium, Dryopteris dilatata, Cystopteris fragilis, Vaccinium spp. colonizing non-stabilized screes on shady places, often with a high proportion of large blocks. The scree vegetation in the Caucasus Mountains., outside the range of the EU 28+, is represented by the endemic alliances Scrophulario minimae-Symphyolomion graveolens and Chaerophyllion humilis. Those screes are outside this habitat type’s definition.

Indicators of quality:

•    Occurrence of natural erosion processes.

•    Presence of rare, relict or endemic species.

•    Absence of human activities, including grazing.

•    Absence of alien species.

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

Despite a variable level of data quality among countries, and the lack of quantitative data, this habitat is assessed as Least Concern since it is widespread in Europe and the reductions in quantity (1-2%) and quality (slight decline (30% severity) affecting 5% of the extent of the habitat) over the past 50 years have been small and localized.
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

  • Mining, extraction of materials and energy production
    • Mining and quarrying
  • Transportation and service corridors
    • Roads, paths and railroads
  • Human intrusions and disturbances
    • Skiing complex
  • Natural System modifications
    • Reduction, lack or prevention of erosion
  • Climate change
    • Changes in abiotic conditions
    • Temperature changes (e.g. rise of temperature & extremes)

Habitat restoration potential

The habitat has some capacity to recover naturally, but it is dependent on some geomorphological processes which are very slow (erosion). As far as we know, there is no experiment of restoration of screes.

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

Screes are important natural features of the mountain environment. Therefore, this habitat type has no specific management requirements except leaving it undisturbed and undestroyed. Conservation is then effective when free evolution is possible, like within protected areas. ‘Manage landscape features’ refers to the need to better protect this kind of habitats with a high degree of naturalness in land-use planning, especially when no specific regulation can be applied (no protected species or habitat, outside a protected area, outside a Natura 2000 site).

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Legal protection of habitats and species
    • Manage landscape features

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)
Austria Present 957 Stable Stable
Bulgaria Present 288 Stable Decreasing
France mainland Present 500 Stable Stable
Corsica Present 500 Stable Stable
Italy mainland Present 2,187 Stable Stable
Sardinia Present 2,187 Stable Stable
Sicily Present 2,187 Stable Stable
Slovakia Present 16 Unknown Decreasing
Spain mainland Present 247 Stable Stable
Romania Present 291 Unknown Decreasing
Poland Present 1 Stable Stable
Slovenia Uncertain - -
EU28 + Present or presence uncertain Current area of habitat (Km2) Recent trend in quantity (last 50 years) Recent trend in quality (last 50 years)
Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Switzerland Present 850 Stable Stable
Bosnia and Herzegovina Present 1 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 1580500 325 4,488
EU28+ 342 5,339
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 Alectoris graeca
Birds Monticola saxatilis
Birds Prunella collaris
Birds Tichodroma muraria
Ferns Athyrium distentifolium
Ferns Cryptogramma crispa
Ferns Cystopteris fragilis
Ferns Dryopteris dilatata
Ferns Gymnocarpium dryopteris
Flowering Plants Achillea erba-rotta
Flowering Plants Adenostyles leucophylla
Flowering Plants Androsace alpina
Flowering Plants Arenaria biflora
Flowering Plants Armeria alpina
Flowering Plants Cardamine glauca
Flowering Plants Cochlearia tatrae
Flowering Plants Deschampsia alpina
Flowering Plants Doronicum clusii
Flowering Plants Festuca picta
Flowering Plants Gentiana frigida
Flowering Plants Geum reptans
Flowering Plants Lerchenfeldia flexuosa
Flowering Plants Linaria alpina
Flowering Plants Luzula alpinopilosa
Flowering Plants Minuartia sedoides
Flowering Plants Murbeckiella pinnatifida
Flowering Plants Oreochloa disticha
Flowering Plants Oxyria digyna
Flowering Plants Poa cenisia
Flowering Plants Poa contracta
Flowering Plants Polygonum alpinum
Flowering Plants Ranunculus glacialis
Flowering Plants Saxifraga adscendens
Flowering Plants Saxifraga bryoides
Flowering Plants Senecio glaberrimus
Flowering Plants Silene acaulis
Flowering Plants Veronica baumgartenii
Mammals Chionomys nivalis
Mosses & Liverworts Dicranoweisia crispula
Mosses & Liverworts Polytrichum alpinum
Mosses & Liverworts Racomitrium lanuginosum
Mosses & Liverworts Sanionia uncinata
Reptiles Podarcis muralis
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Alectoris graeca Rock Partridge Birds
Monticola saxatilis Rock Thrush Birds
Prunella collaris Alpine Accentor Birds
Tichodroma muraria Wallcreeper Birds
Athyrium distentifolium Ferns
Cryptogramma crispa Ferns
Cystopteris fragilis Ferns
Dryopteris dilatata Ferns
Gymnocarpium dryopteris Ferns
Achillea erba-rotta Flowering Plants
Adenostyles leucophylla Flowering Plants
Androsace alpina Flowering Plants
Arenaria biflora Flowering Plants
Armeria alpina Flowering Plants
Cardamine glauca Flowering Plants
Cochlearia tatrae Flowering Plants
Deschampsia alpina Flowering Plants
Doronicum clusii Flowering Plants
Festuca picta Flowering Plants
Gentiana frigida Flowering Plants
Geum reptans Flowering Plants
Lerchenfeldia flexuosa Flowering Plants
Linaria alpina Flowering Plants
Luzula alpinopilosa Flowering Plants
Minuartia sedoides Flowering Plants
Murbeckiella pinnatifida Flowering Plants
Oreochloa disticha Flowering Plants
Oxyria digyna Flowering Plants
Poa cenisia Flowering Plants
Poa contracta Flowering Plants
Polygonum alpinum Flowering Plants
Ranunculus glacialis Flowering Plants
Saxifraga adscendens Flowering Plants
Saxifraga bryoides Flowering Plants
Senecio glaberrimus Flowering Plants
Silene acaulis Flowering Plants
Veronica baumgartenii Flowering Plants
Chionomys nivalis Snow vole Mammals
Dicranoweisia crispula Mosses & Liverworts
Polytrichum alpinum Mosses & Liverworts
Racomitrium lanuginosum Mosses & Liverworts
Sanionia uncinata Mosses & Liverworts
Podarcis muralis Common wall lizard Reptiles

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 H2.3 Temperate-montane acid siliceous screes same
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