Red List habitat classification > RLH - Sparsely vegetated habitats > RLH2.4 Temperate high-mountain base-rich scree

Temperate high-mountain base-rich scree

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLH2.4
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)


Calcareous and calcschist screes of high altitudes (mainly over 1000 m alt.) 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 habitat consists of rock fragments with different forms and sizes covering the frost-shattered summits of mountains or accumulating on slopes below calcareous cliffs. Calcareous and calcschist screes consist of base-rich rocks including limestone, dolomites, calcareous-schists, and marbles.

The screes are colonised by a set of mostly perennial species. The vegetation consists of assemblages of calcicole and basiphilous species, the composition of which depends on altitude and geographical ranges. Geographical isolation and limited size of high-altitudinal screes are explanations for the high level of specification found in the flora of calcareous screes, resulting in many relic and local endemic species. Also many vegetation alliances have limited ranges on the slopes of European mountains, for example in the Carpathians (Papverion tatrtici and Papavero-Thymion pulcherrimi), the Dinarides (Bunion alpini and Saxifragion prenjae), the Pirin Mountain in Bulgaria (Veronico-Papaverion degenii), the Pyrenees (Iberidion spathulatae, Iberido apertae-Linarion propinquae, Saxifragion praetemirsae Androsacion ciliatae), and the Apennines (Linario-Festucion dimorphae, Thlaspion stylosi). Some vegetation alliances, like the Thlaspion rotundifolii and Drabion hoppeanae (on slates), are more widespread in the Alps and Carpathians. The vegetation of high-mountain and subalpine, relatively humid, fine limestone and marl screes belongs to the alliance Petasition paradoxi. Here many fern species (Polystichum lonchitis, Dryopteris submontana, D. villarii, Asplenium fissum) are found as well as large number of calcicolous mosses.

Indicators of quality:

  • Occurrence of natural erosion processes.
  • High species richness of the cliffs.
  • 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 (around 3%) and quality (slight decline, severity 33% affecting 6% of the extent of the habitat) over the past 50 years have been small and resulted in limited degradation.
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

  • Mining, extraction of materials and energy production
    • Mining and quarrying
  • Human intrusions and disturbances
    • Sport and leisure structures
  • Natural biotic and abiotic processes (without catastrophes)
    • Biocenotic evolution, succession
  • Climate change
    • Changes in abiotic conditions

Habitat restoration potential

The habitat has some capacity to recover naturally, but it is dependent on particular 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 requirement to remain 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
    • Establish protected areas/sites
    • Legal protection of habitats and species
    • Manage landscape features


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 963 Stable Stable
Bulgaria Present 20 Stable Decreasing
Croatia Present 2 - Stable
France mainland Present 500 Stable Stable
Germany Present 100 Decreasing Decreasing
Italy mainland Present 1058 Decreasing Stable
Sardinia Present 1058 Decreasing Stable
Sicily Present 1058 Decreasing Stable
Romania Present 1.5 Unknown Decreasing
Slovakia Present 5 Unknown Decreasing
Slovenia Present 15 Stable Stable
Spain mainland Present 132 Stable Stable
Poland Present 0.5 - -
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 750 Decreasing Stable
Bosnia and Herzegovina Present 3 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 5646500 456 2800
EU28+ 474 3551
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
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