Red List habitat classification > RLH - Sparsely vegetated habitats > RLH2.5 Temperate, lowland to montane siliceous scree

Temperate, lowland to montane siliceous scree

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLH2.5
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)


Siliceous (acidic) screes and moraines of warm exposures on the lower slopes of mountain ranges of the nemoral zone, including the Alps, Pyrenees and Hercynian ranges, also on hills and lowlands and, locally, of middle European upland or lowland sites. They consist of various volcanic, crystalline, metamorphic or sedimentary rocks with acidic to neutral reaction. Often the screes are mixed with fine soil. The vegetation can completely lack, but in other sites is represented by forb- or fern-dominated, sometimes by moss- or lichen-dominated, species-poor communities. Siliceous screes in general have a lower species richness than calcareous screes. But the diversity of fern species is higher than in calcareous screes. Examples of characteristic ferns are Cryptogramma crispa, Dryopteris oreades and Dryopteris expansa. The screes on warm slopes of the subalpine level of the Alps and the Pyrenees, usually composed largely of big stones or boulders, are occupied by communities of Senecio leucophyllus, Taraxacum pyrenaicum, Galeopsis pyrenaica, Xatardia scabra, Armeria alpina. In central Europe and the Carpathian’s periphery screes are often dominated by Achnatherum calamagrostis, Melica ciliata and Galeopsis ladanum. Similar communities can also occur on secondary substrates, like in quarries, but they must not be treated as the habitat. Screes have a very special cold microclimate and are often inhabited by invertebrate glacial relict species.

Indicators of quality:
•    occurrence of natural erosion processes,
•    presence of rare, relict or endemic species,
•    absence of human activities, incl. grazing,
•    absence of alien species (e.g. Robinia pseudacacia may support the processes of stabilisation of screes and extinction of the typical flora).

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

This habitat type qualifies for a Least Concern status at the European scale because its reduction in quantity over the last 50 years is small. Reduction in quality could not be assessed despite known processes (e.g. stabilisation and encroachment of screes like in Germany or France). Yet, this status hides strong differences in context among parts of Europe and it will be worth having further examination for sub-types.
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
  • Transportation and service corridors
    • Roads, paths and railroads
  • Human intrusions and disturbances
    • Outdoor sports and leisure activities, recreational activities
  • Natural biotic and abiotic processes (without catastrophes)
    • Biocenotic evolution, succession

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

Usually there is no management need for this habitat to remain but leaving it undisturbed and undamaged. Where local glacial relics of highly endangered invertebrates are threatened by closing in with succession in small screes, management with cutting bushes/ trees can exceptionally be necessary. Natural succession should normally not be considered as a problem because it is not human-induced. 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 showing a high degree of naturalness in land-use planning, especially when no specific regulation can be applied (e.g. no protected species or habitat, outside a protected area, outside a N2000 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 75 Stable Decreasing
Belgium Present 0.25 Decreasing Decreasing
Bulgaria Present unknown Unknown Decreasing
Czech Republic Present 5 Stable Stable
France mainland Present 75 Stable Stable
Germany Present 10 Decreasing Decreasing
Hungary Present unknown Unknown Unknown
Ireland Present 0.8 Unknown Unknown
Italy mainland Present unknown Unknown Unknown
Portugal mainland Present 20 Unknown Stable
Spain mainland Present 12 Stable Stable
Slovakia Present 1 Unknown Decreasing
Croatia Present marginal Unknown Unknown
Romania Present 2 Decreasing Decreasing
Slovenia Present 0.1 Stable Stable
United Kingdom Present 637 Increasing Stable
Poland Present 0.5 Decreasing Decreasing
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 - -
Switzerland Present 150 Unknown Decreasing
Bosnia and Herzegovina Present 5 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 >50000 >50 835 No significant missing data, data from the UK probably overestimated
EU28+ >50 985 No significant missing data, data from the UK probably overestimated
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