Red List habitat classification > RLH - Sparsely vegetated habitats > RLH3.2b Temperate high-mountain base-rich inland cliff

Temperate high-mountain base-rich inland cliff

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLH3.2b
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 comprises calcareous or base-rich rock faces and crevices in at high altitudes of European mountain ranges in the temperate bioclimatic region. The chasmophytes, dwarf- and cushion-formed chamaephytes and hemicryptophytes, and numerous fern species and mosses, are very well adapted to the extreme habitat conditions, like strong solar radiation, a low water content, high day/night and seasonal temperature fluctuations, strong winds, and the absence of snow cover protection. The soil is in general very poorly developed, but in the crevices a small amount of fine soil may accumulate. Due to geographical isolation and variety in site conditions numerous relict, endemic, rare and protected species can be found on these cliffs.

Also the variation in species composition is high, resulting in a large number of alliances. In this habitat type we can find alliances from three orders. The Potentilletalia caulescentis comprises alliances of sunny rock faces and crevices. In the Central and Eastern Alps and in the Western Carpathians we find the alliance Potentillion caulescentis, in the Southern Alps the Phyteumato-Saxifragion petraeae, in the Maritime Alps the Saxifragion lingulatae, and in the Southern and Eastern Carpathians the Gypsophilion petraeae. On the Iberian Peninsula occur the alliances Saxifragion mediae, Sedo albi-Seslerion hispanicae, Asplenio celtiberici-Saxifragion cuneatae, Jasionion foliosae and Saxifragion camposii, in the Apennines the Saxifragion australis and on the Balkan Peninsula the alliances Micromerion croaticae and Edraiantho graminifolii-Erysimion comati. The order Violo biflorae-Cystopteridetalia alpinae comprises chasmophytic communities on shaded calcareous rock faces and crevices. Here the variation is much less, and only the alliance Amphoricarpion neumayeri is included, occurring in the central and south-eastern Dinarides. Other alliances of this order are found in lower altitudes (habitat H3.2c). In the alpine belt of the south-central Balkan mountain ranges we can find chasmophytic vegetation of the alliance Ramondion nathaliae from order Potentilletalia speciosae.

Many endemic and legally protected species occur in this habitat. The main threats are air pollution, exploitation of limestone, intensive tourism (climbing), grazing, collecting of flowers, erosion, and natural destruction of the rocks.

Indicators of good quality:
•    natural erosion processes,
•    species richness of the cliffs and presence of the characteristic species,
•    presence of habitat rare species, relict species and endemics.

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 Red List status. Despite a lack of data, the decrease in quantity over the last 50 years is calculated with a sufficient number of countries to give a realistic picture. Assessment the decrease in quality is less reliable because values of extent and severity are based on a subset of only six countries’ data.
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
  • Human intrusions and disturbances
    • Outdoor sports and leisure activities, recreational activities
    • Mountaineering, rock climbing, speleology
    • Sport and leisure structures
  • Pollution
    • Air pollution, air-borne pollutants

Habitat restoration potential

At least for plants, natural recovery of this habitat is rather fast when it is not isolated from habitats of the same type. Return of specialized nesting birds after strong disturbances is less easy.

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

This habitat stays without any human intervention. It is best protected from human disturbance inside protected areas like in Bulgaria, where it lies almost fully inside national parks. France is another instance. Outer calcareous French Alps are very well covered by either big Natural Reserves, Natura 2000 sites or Natural Regional Parks. Site managers seek cooperation and prevention with other stakeholders such as climbers and gliders to better control these activities and make people aware of the disturbances they may cause to plants and animals.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Manage landscape features
  • Measures related to hunting, taking and fishing and species management
    • Specific single species or species group management measures

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 275 Stable Stable
Bulgaria Present 47 Decreasing Stable
France mainland Present 600 Stable Stable
Corsica Present 600 Stable Stable
Italy mainland Present 1597 Unknown Unknown
Sardinia Present 1597 Unknown Unknown
Sicily Present 1597 Unknown Unknown
Slovakia Present 20 Unknown Stable
Spain mainland Present 388 Stable Stable
Croatia Present unknown Unknown Unknown
Romania Present 3 Decreasing Decreasing
Slovenia Present 140 Stable Stable
Greece (mainland and other islands) Present 50 Unknown Unknown
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 600 Stable Stable
Bosnia and Herzegovina Present 65 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 1829850 1469 3117 Greece and Bosnia-Herzegovinia are not included in the current area due to the late arrival of data.
EU28+ 1471 3717
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.
Ferns Asplenium celtibericum
Ferns Cystopteris fragilis
Flowering Plants Achillea schurii
Flowering Plants Agrostis schleicheri
Flowering Plants Androsace cylindrica
Flowering Plants Artemisia eriantha
Flowering Plants Asperula hirta
Flowering Plants Avena setacea
Flowering Plants Ballota frutescens
Flowering Plants Bupleurum petraeum
Flowering Plants Draba aizoides
Flowering Plants Festuca stenantha
Flowering Plants Gypsophila petraea
Flowering Plants Hieracium humile
Flowering Plants Kernera saxatilis
Flowering Plants Minuartia rupestris
Flowering Plants Phyteuma charmelii
Flowering Plants Potentilla alchimilloides
Flowering Plants Primula allionii
Flowering Plants Ptilotrichum pyrenaicum
Flowering Plants Ramonda myconi
Flowering Plants Saxifraga aretioides
Flowering Plants Silene campanula
Flowering Plants Silene pusilla
Flowering Plants Thymus pulcherrimus
Flowering Plants Trisetum bertolonii
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Asplenium celtibericum Ferns
Cystopteris fragilis Ferns
Achillea schurii Flowering Plants
Agrostis schleicheri Flowering Plants
Androsace cylindrica Flowering Plants
Artemisia eriantha Flowering Plants
Asperula hirta Flowering Plants
Avena setacea Flowering Plants
Ballota frutescens Flowering Plants
Bupleurum petraeum Flowering Plants
Draba aizoides Flowering Plants
Festuca stenantha Flowering Plants
Gypsophila petraea Flowering Plants
Hieracium humile Flowering Plants
Kernera saxatilis Flowering Plants
Minuartia rupestris Flowering Plants
Phyteuma charmelii Flowering Plants
Potentilla alchimilloides Flowering Plants
Primula allionii Flowering Plants
Ptilotrichum pyrenaicum Flowering Plants
Ramonda myconi Flowering Plants
Saxifraga aretioides Flowering Plants
Silene campanula Flowering Plants
Silene pusilla Flowering Plants
Thymus pulcherrimus Flowering Plants
Trisetum bertolonii Flowering Plants

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 H3.2 Basic and ultra-basic inland cliffs narrower
European Environment Agency (EEA)
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