Red List habitat classification > RLH - Sparsely vegetated habitats > RLH3.3 Macaronesian inland cliff

Macaronesian inland cliff

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLH3.3
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

Perennial vegetation of rock walls not under the influence of sodium chloride of maritime origin. The habitat includes an enormous diversity of plant communities that, in turn, include several hundreds of taxa endemic to Macaronesia. The main large groups, that we consider as subtypes within H3.3,  are: i) plant communities dominated by succulent rosetted chamaephytic crassulaceae (Aeonium, Aichryson, Greenovia and Monanthes) of rock surface or crevices, endemic to the Canaries and Madeira ( Greenovio-Aeonietea vegetation class). Although a few taxa reach the Azores archipelago (e.g. Aichryson), this vegetation type is not recognized there; ii) communities of shady, humid, earthy, rock wall surfaces dominated by ferns and mosses (Anomodonto-Polypodietea vegetation class); iii) plant communities strictly of rock wall crevices directly exposed to rainfall, made up of  a great diversity of habitat-specialists, both pteridophytes and vascular plants (Asplenietea trichomanis vegetation class); iv) semi-nitrogen prone vegetation of rock wall crevices, including artificial old walls and buildings, dominated by hemi-criptophytes and chamaephytes (Parietarietea judaicae). The later, in spite of cosmopolitan distribution includes some endemic elements in Macaronesia. The subtypes thus considered are:

1.       Succulent rosette crassulaceae vegetation of the Canaries and Madeira. (i) This subtype has an enormous diversity and endemicity (see flora). Alliances included are Soncho acaulis-Aeonion (all canarian archipelago); Greenovion aureae (western Canaries); Aichryso monanthi-Monanthion laxiflorae (canarian and madeiran archipelagos, one taxon (Aichryson villosum) reaches the Azores but it belongs to subtype #2 there; Sinapidendro-Aeonion glutinosi (madeirean only).

2.       Brio-pteridophytic shady earthy rock wall, seldom epiphytic communities of Canaries, Madeira and Azores. (ii) This subtype shares some flora with exclusively epiphytic communities (Hymenophylion thumbrigensis) which is not considered here. Canaries, Madeira and Azores.  The alliances included are: Barthamio-Polypodion, Sellaginelo-Annogramion leptophyllae and Thelypterido-Woodwardion of wet walls with large ferns.

3.       Exposed rock wall crevices vegetation of the Canaries and Madeira. (iii) One alliance only: Cheilanthion pulchellae of xerophytic and termophyllous mafic rock crevices.

4.       Semi nitrogen-prone wall vegetation. (iv) Parietario-Galion, Cymbalario-Asplenion and Asplenion maritimi alliances are present. All archipelagos.

Indicators of good quality:

Physiognomical integrity and presence of local/regional bioindicator sets should be maximal. Disturbance regimes, mostly soil/rock removal or removal of protective arboreal vegetation, for shade, in the case of subtype #2 are indicative of collapse/loss of ecological quality. Nitrogen-prone rock vegetation, i.e subtype #4 tends to dominate if disturbance increases. Sometimes type F6.8a ( macaronesian halo-nitrophyllous tender- leaf shrubs) can also tend to invade the habitat under disturbance.

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

There is no evidence of significant past reductions, either in the last 50 years or historically, and also future prospects are good, as no serious threats are envisaged, besides touristic/leisure activities and putative faulty environmental impact assessments that may overlook this habitat as valuable. Reduction in quantity, reduction in quality and criteria of geographic distribution yield the Least Concern (LC) category. In spite of the LC category, conservation policy and management should restrict to the maximum any threat to or reduction of the habitat, as it has a very high conservation value, because of high endemism of species and communities with many local and regional variaties.
EU
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Least Concern -
Europe
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Least Concern -

Confidence in the assessment

low
Red List of habitat categories and criteria descriptions

Pressures and threats

  • Transportation and service corridors
    • Roads, motorways
    • Bridge, viaduct
  • Human intrusions and disturbances
    • Mountaineering & rock climbing
    • Trampling, overuse

Habitat restoration potential

Recovering of this vegetation type will be uncertain, slow and only if environmental conditions (habitat) are again met. Eventually it may slowly establish from nearby populations, if these exist. Absence of nitrates, shade (in the subtypes under shade), elimination of competing vegetation and substratum recovery would be needed (active potential habitat recovery).

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

Conservation of inland cliffs depends on adoption of legal planning instruments, restricting the disturbance or use of cliffs either for sport/touristic activities and avoidance of destruction by construction of infrastructures such as roads.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Establish protected areas/sites
    • Legal protection of habitats and species
    • Manage landscape features
  • Measures related to urban areas, industry, energy and transport
    • Specific management of traffic and energy transport systems

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)
Portugal Azores Present 190 Stable Stable
Madeira Present 190 Stable Stable
Savage Islands Uncertain 190 Stable Stable
Canary Islands Present 23 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)

Extent of Occurrence, Area of Occupancy and habitat area

Extent of Occurrence (EOO) (Km2) Area of Occupancy (AOO) Current estimated Total Area Comment
EU28 613200 79 213
EU28+ 79 213
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 adiantum-nigrum
Ferns Asplenium hemionitis
Ferns Asplenium marinum
Ferns Asplenium monanthes
Ferns Asplenium septentrionale
Ferns Asplenium trichomanes
Ferns Asplenium trichomanes subsp. quadrivalens
Ferns Asplenium trichomanes subsp. trichomanes
Ferns Cheilanthes acrostica
Ferns Cheilanthes guanchica
Ferns Cheilanthes pulchella
Ferns Cheilanthes tinaei
Ferns Cystopteris diaphana
Ferns Cystopteris viridula
Ferns Davallia canariensis
Ferns Notholaena marantae
Ferns Polypodium azoricum
Ferns Polypodium cambricum
Ferns Polypodium interjectum
Ferns Polypodium macaronesicum
Ferns Thelypteris pozoi
Ferns Woodwardia radicans
Flowering Plants Aeonium balsamiferum
Flowering Plants Aeonium gomeraense
Flowering Plants Aichryson dumosum
Flowering Plants Aichryson villosum
Flowering Plants Andryala crithmifolia
Flowering Plants Arabis caucasica
Flowering Plants Centranthus ruber
Flowering Plants Chelidonium majus
Flowering Plants Crambe arborea
Flowering Plants Crambe laevigata
Flowering Plants Crambe scaberrima
Flowering Plants Cymbalaria muralis
Flowering Plants Erigeron karvinskianus
Flowering Plants Habenaria tridactylites
Flowering Plants Hyoscyamus albus
Flowering Plants Hypochoeris oligocephala
Flowering Plants Monizia edulis
Flowering Plants Musschia aurea
Flowering Plants Parietaria judaica
Flowering Plants Sedum brissemoretii
Flowering Plants Sinapidendron angustifolium
Flowering Plants Sinapidendron frutescens
Flowering Plants Sinapidendron gymnocalyx
Flowering Plants Sinapidendron rupestre
Flowering Plants Sonchus tenerrimus
Flowering Plants Trachelium caeruleum
Flowering Plants Umbilicus rupestris
Mosses & Liverworts Pterogonium gracile
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Asplenium adiantum-nigrum Ferns
Asplenium hemionitis Ferns
Asplenium marinum Ferns
Asplenium monanthes Ferns
Asplenium septentrionale Ferns
Asplenium trichomanes Ferns
Asplenium trichomanes subsp. quadrivalens Ferns
Asplenium trichomanes subsp. trichomanes Ferns
Cheilanthes acrostica Ferns
Cheilanthes guanchica Ferns
Cheilanthes pulchella Ferns
Cheilanthes tinaei Ferns
Cystopteris diaphana Ferns
Cystopteris viridula Ferns
Davallia canariensis Ferns
Notholaena marantae Ferns
Polypodium azoricum Ferns
Polypodium cambricum Ferns
Polypodium interjectum Ferns
Polypodium macaronesicum Ferns
Thelypteris pozoi Ferns
Woodwardia radicans Ferns
Aeonium balsamiferum Flowering Plants
Aeonium gomeraense Flowering Plants
Aichryson dumosum Flowering Plants
Aichryson villosum Flowering Plants
Andryala crithmifolia Flowering Plants
Arabis caucasica Flowering Plants
Centranthus ruber Flowering Plants
Chelidonium majus Flowering Plants
Crambe arborea Flowering Plants
Crambe laevigata Flowering Plants
Crambe scaberrima Flowering Plants
Cymbalaria muralis Flowering Plants
Erigeron karvinskianus Flowering Plants
Habenaria tridactylites Flowering Plants
Hyoscyamus albus Flowering Plants
Hypochoeris oligocephala Flowering Plants
Monizia edulis Flowering Plants
Musschia aurea Flowering Plants
Parietaria judaica Flowering Plants
Sedum brissemoretii Flowering Plants
Sinapidendron angustifolium Flowering Plants
Sinapidendron frutescens Flowering Plants
Sinapidendron gymnocalyx Flowering Plants
Sinapidendron rupestre Flowering Plants
Sonchus tenerrimus Flowering Plants
Trachelium caeruleum Flowering Plants
Umbilicus rupestris Flowering Plants
Pterogonium gracile Mosses & Liverworts

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 H3.3 Macaronesian inland cliffs same
European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100