Red List habitat classification > RLH - Sparsely vegetated habitats > RLH3.4 Wet inland cliff

Wet inland cliff

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLH3.4
Threat status
Europe Data Deficient
EU Data Deficient
Relation to
Source European Red List habitat factsheet
European Red List of habitats reports
European Red List of habitats (Excel table)


Plant species growing on wet cliffs are exposed to very specific ecological conditions. They occur on north-faced, very damp, dripping, overhanging or vertical calcareous rocks, in shady places. Species are mainly hygrophytic and shade-resistant. Communities are rich in ferns and mosses, on the more constantly watered places also green and blue-green algae occur. The habitat is strongly depending on the period of watering and appears on very small areas.

The habitat is found in temperate and in Mediterranean regions. In many sites, the areas of the habitat are very small and isolated. Wet cliffs of the Macaronesian islands are considered under habitat H3.3.

Indicators of good quality:

Main threats are various human activities that change the water regime.  The following characteristics may be considered as indicators of good quality:

  • species richness of the cliffs and presence of the characteristic species
  • presence of habitat rare species at their typical frequency
  • constant supply of water

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

Due to a lack of quantitative data and a high degree of uncertainty among the provided data, the Red List category could not be evaluated. Therefore, the overall assessment leads to category Data Deficient (DD).
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Data Deficient -
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Data Deficient -

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
  • Human intrusions and disturbances
    • Outdoor sports and leisure activities, recreational activities
    • Mountaineering, rock climbing, speleology
  • Natural System modifications
    • Human induced changes in hydraulic conditions
  • Geological events, natural catastrophes
    • Collapse of terrain, landslide
  • Climate change
    • Changes in abiotic conditions

Habitat restoration potential

Once completely destroyed, the habitat has almost no capacity to recover, as it's origin is dependent on geomorphological processes. In the case of damage without destruction of sites, at least for plants, the natural recovery of this habitat is rather fast when it is not isolated from similar habitats. The recolonization of sites by characteristic animals after strong disturbances may take longer.

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Stable Stable
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Unknown Unknown
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

As the habitat type is highly natural the main conservation strategy is the prevention of disturbance and destruction of sites. The protection of habitats and corresponding species is realised best in protected areas. The habitat is strongly depending on water regimes and the period of watering. Hence, degraded sites may require management measures concerning the hydrological regime. To avoid further loss and deterioration of sites, these habitats have to be incorporated more strongly in spatial development planning.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to wetland, freshwater and coastal habitats
    • Restoring/Improving the hydrological regime
    • Managing water abstraction
  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Establish protected areas/sites
    • Legal protection of habitats and species


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 Unknown Decreasing Unknown
Bulgaria Present Unknown Decreasing Decreasing
Croatia Present 0.5 Stable Stable
Finland mainland Present 0.5 Stable Stable
France mainland Present Unknown Decreasing Decreasing
Germany Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Greece (mainland and other islands) Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Ireland Present 0.1 Unknown Stable
Italy mainland Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Portugal mainland Present 3 Unknown Stable
Romania Present 0.5 Decreasing Stable
Slovakia Present 1 Unknown Decreasing
Slovenia Present 0.5 Unknown Stable
Spain mainland Present 74 Decreasing 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 Uncertain - -
Bosnia and Herzegovina Present 15 Decreasing Stable
Kosovo Uncertain - -
Montenegro Uncertain - -
Norway Mainland Uncertain - -
Serbia Uncertain - -

Extent of Occurrence, Area of Occupancy and habitat area

Extent of Occurrence (EOO) (Km2) Area of Occupancy (AOO) Current estimated Total Area Comment
EU28 3967550 176 80
EU28+ 197 95
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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