Red List habitat classification > RLH - Sparsely vegetated habitats > RLH3.2c Temperate, lowland to montane base-rich inland cliff

Temperate, lowland to montane base-rich inland cliff

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLH3.2c
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 type includes calcareous or base-rich rock faces and crevices in lowland to montane belts of European mountains in the temperate bioclimatic region.  Plant species growing on these rocks are adapted to extreme habitat conditions, such as strong solar radiation, a low water content, strong fluctuations in day/night and seasonal temperature, strong winds, absence of snow cover, and poorly developed soil. However, the conditions in lower altitudes are not as severe as in high altitudes (habitat H3.2b): radiation is lower, many species grow in more shady places, the fluctuation of temperature is not so extreme, and winds are less strong. Despite this, many endemic and rare species occur in these habitats. 

On more sunny rocks we can find communities of the order Potentilletalia caulescentis, namely in the Central and Easter Alps and Western Carpathians from the alliance Potentillion caulescentis and in the Southern Carpathians from the Micromerion pulegii. On more shady rocks communities from the order Violo biflorae-Cystopteridetalia alpinae appear, in the Southern Dinarides the alliance Edraianthion and in the rest of Europe the alliance Violo biflorae-Cystopteridion alpinae.

Indicators of quality:
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, natural destruction of the rocks.
The following characteristics may be considered as indicators of good quality:
•    occurrence of natural erosion processes,
•    species richness of the cliffs and presence of the characteristic species,
•    presence of rare species at their typical frequency.

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

The overall Red List status is Least Concern (LC). Decreases in quantity and quality are well below the thresholds to qualify for the Near threatened category. Despite a variable data quality among countries and a lack of important data from Eastern countries, the calculated trends reflect somewhat the reality and, therefore, the assessment can be considered as reliable.
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
  • Invasive, other problematic species and genes
    • Invasive non-native species
  • Natural biotic and abiotic processes (without catastrophes)
    • Biocenotic evolution, succession

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. However, the return of specialized nesting birds after strong disturbances, for example, 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

Cliffs are highly natural elements of the mountain environment and of hills dominated landscapes. Therefore, the conservation of this habitat type does not require a specific management but leaving it undisturbed and undamaged. Conservation is effective when free evolution is possible like within protected areas. Unless protected species or habitats are present, the conservation of cliffs is not taken into account in construction projects and land-use planning. In France, natural areas managers mainly seek cooperation 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 (prevention) instead of segregative conservation approaches.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • 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 91 Stable Unknown
Bulgaria Present 190 Stable Stable
Czech Republic Present 2 Stable Stable
France mainland Present 225 Stable Stable
Germany Present 30 Decreasing Stable
Hungary Present 1 Stable Stable
Ireland Present 2.7 Stable Stable
Italy mainland Present 50 Stable Stable
Slovakia Present 7 Decreasing Decreasing
Spain mainland Present 13 Stable Stable
Lithuania Present 0.01 Stable Unknown
Croatia Present 15 Stable Stable
Romania Present 2 Decreasing Decreasing
Slovenia Present 46 Stable Stable
United Kingdom Present 6 Decreasing Stable
Poland Present 2.8 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)
Switzerland Present 250 Stable Decreasing
Bosnia and Herzegovina Present 107 Decreasing 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 6462400 2817 685
EU28+ 3091 1042
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 fontanum
Ferns Ceterach officinarum
Ferns Cystopteris fragilis
Ferns Polypodium interjectum
Flowering Plants Androsace lactea
Flowering Plants Campanula cochlearifolia
Flowering Plants Cardaminopsis arenosa subsp. borbasii
Flowering Plants Carex brachystachys
Flowering Plants Draba aizoides
Flowering Plants Erinus alpinus
Flowering Plants Globularia cordifolia
Flowering Plants Hieracium amplexicaule
Flowering Plants Kernera saxatilis
Flowering Plants Moehringia muscosa
Flowering Plants Potentilla caulescens
Flowering Plants Valeriana montana
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Asplenium fontanum Ferns
Ceterach officinarum Ferns
Cystopteris fragilis Ferns
Polypodium interjectum Ferns
Androsace lactea Flowering Plants
Campanula cochlearifolia Flowering Plants
Cardaminopsis arenosa subsp. borbasii Flowering Plants
Carex brachystachys Flowering Plants
Draba aizoides Flowering Plants
Erinus alpinus Flowering Plants
Globularia cordifolia Flowering Plants
Hieracium amplexicaule Flowering Plants
Kernera saxatilis Flowering Plants
Moehringia muscosa Flowering Plants
Potentilla caulescens Flowering Plants
Valeriana montana 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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