Red List habitat classification > RLH - Sparsely vegetated habitats > RLH2.6c Eastern Mediterranean base-rich scree

Eastern Mediterranean base-rich scree

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLH2.6c
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)


This is a calcareous and ultrabasic scree, constituted by talus, boulder fields, glacier forefields, rock debris and riverine gravel banks, from lowlands upwards to subnival levels in the eastern Mediterranean. Apart from epilithic bryophytes and lichens on rock outcrops and stable boulders, the vegetation consists mainly of specialist vascular plants adapted to the mobility of scree materials, the scarcity of fine-grained soil, mechanical disturbance, shortage of water and other physiological stresses. Most plants show storage organs and considerable regeneration capacity of roots and shoots. Characteristic plant adaptive syndromes include prostrate stems, stolons, tubers, rhizomes, and radicants. Clonal reproduction is common among them. The most common plant life forms in eastern Mediterranean screes are hemicryptophytes, some of which may turn to being facultative rhizome geophytes, and chamaephytes. In contrast to temperate high-mountain screes, bulbous geophytes may play a prominent role in East Mediterranean screes. Characteristic plant growth form strategies are scree creeping, scree moving (passively), and scree accumulating. Characteristic plant genera in eastern Mediterranean screes, each with several species represented are the following: Aethionema, Alyssum, Euphorbia, Heldreichia, Nepeta, Ranunculus, Ricotia, Scrophularia, Silene and Viola.

While the plant composition in lowland screes consists mostly of widespread plant generalists and ruderal specialists but only few narrow-range endemics, there is considerable regional variation in the high mountains, as reflected by the high number of phytosociological alliances. Some alliances are restricted to oro-mediterranean levels of single mountain ranges such as Pindos or the Taurus Mountains. Characteristic plants are often narrow endemics. Most plant communities belong to three geographically vicariant vegetation classes, i.e. Thlaspietea rotundifolii in the northwest (and further in nemoral Europe), Drypidetea spinosae in the southwest (Greece and South Aegean), and Heldreichietea in the east (Anatolia to Israel). Local habitat variation is the result of mobility and stability of the scree and gravel, to the supply of debris by rivers or through downslope transport by gravity, to substrate grain size and chemistry.

The habitat type, as defined here, occurs from the eastern Adriatic region, (i.e. Dalmatia) and the southern part of the Dinarides, through Albania, the Balkans, western and south-central mainland Greece, the Ionian Islands, the Peloponnese and Aegean Greece, western and southern Turkey (Anatolia) and further into Syria, Lebanon, and Israel.

Indicators of quality:

Scree habitats depend on the natural, adequate and constant supply of rock debris and gravel by rivers, cliff weathering or landslides. While high-mountain screes in the eastern Mediterranean are not normally affected by human impact, talus fans and riverine gravel fills in the lowlands have often been cut off from fresh material supplies by hydrological constructions and through transforming the river regime. Habitat quality must be assessed in view of the regional variation in species composition, using endemic scree specialists as indicators. The following characteristics may be used as indicators of favorable habitat quality:

• Occurrence of rare and phytogeographically significant plants

• Presence of sizable areas of scree and gravel with adequate material supply, and with differences in slope, moisture, mobility of materials, and grain size

• Contact with natural habitats such as cliffs, high-mountain thorny cushion vegetation or riverine scrub and woodland

• Absence of gravel quarrying and mining

• Absence of hydrological and traffic constructions influencing the river regime

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

This habitat is assessed as Least Concern in view of its stable trend in quantity, as there have been no declines in the last 50 years. There is no information available to calculate the past, historical or future trends in quality, but it is assumed to be stable. The calculated distribution (Area of Occupancy) is relatively small, but it is likely that it is underestimated due to data gaps.
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
    • Skiing, off-piste

Habitat restoration potential

Recovery of this habitat is always possible provided that the natural geo-morphological processes are not hampered and that undamaged sites occir nearby. There is no further information available on this issue.

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

The best management practice for this highly natural habitat is to leave it simply untouched, thus avoiding any human interference with its natural processes. Natural succession, if any, cannot be seen as a threat. The habitat is present in several protected areas throughout its range. An increase on public awareness about the biological relevance of these apparently inhospitable and sterile environments is recommended.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Establish protected areas/sites
    • 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)
Croatia Present 50 Stable Stable
Cyprus Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Greece (mainland and other islands) Present 126 Stable Stable
Crete Present 126 Stable Stable
East Aegean Present 126 Stable 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)
Albania Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Bosnia and Herzegovina Present 10 Stable Stable
Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Montenegro Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown
Serbia Uncertain Unknown Unknown Unknown

Extent of Occurrence, Area of Occupancy and habitat area

Extent of Occurrence (EOO) (Km2) Area of Occupancy (AOO) Current estimated Total Area Comment
EU28 465600 48 176
EU28+ 80 186
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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