Habitat 4020* Temperate Atlantic Heaths

 

See habitat register entry

GENERAL INFORMATION

BrezalThey are open formations, with few trees, dominated by heather and gorse (Erica spp., Genista spp.). They develop on generally peaty soils that are poorly drained and very sensitive to a marked summer drought, and they require a lot of light. They occupy enclaves that maintain a high level of humidity, and they have high biodiversity and uniqueness in their flora.

They are found from sea level to up to 2,000 metres in height, being more common in mid-mountain conditions. They are usually located in foothills with gentle slopes or in depressions where water accumulates.

Dorset heath (Erica ciliaris) is exclusive to this type of habitat, while other species such as common heather (Calluna vulgaris) is represented in practically all wetland heaths.

WHERE CAN IT BE FOUND?

In Europe, this habitat is typical of the Alpine, Atlantic, Continental and Mediterranean regions.
On a state level, it is predominant in the north-western part of the peninsula, having a reduced distribution in areas of the south and east of the peninsula.
In Andalusia, the distribution of this habitat is reduced to the Atlantic coastline (provinces of Huelva and Cadiz).

WHAT ARE THE THREATS?

Eucalyptus- Desiccation and eutrophication.
- Over-exploitation of aquifers.
- Presence of exotic invasive species.
- Inadequate forestry management (direct elimination of characteristic herbaceous and shrub species).
- Expansion and densification of forest plantations (pine and eucalyptus).
- Management of livestock in accordance with their impact (cattle and equine in particular).

 

IMPROVEMENTS TO BE MADE

1. Avoid desiccation, flooding and eutrophication.
2. Control the livestock density.
3. Avoid deforestation.
4. Periodic monitoring.
5. Control of competing species.

Characteristic species of the Atlantic heath: