Management of Natura 2000 Habitats: 5210 Arborescent Matorral with Juniperus Spp. Calaciura, B. & Spinelli, O. European Commission.
Management of Natura 2000 Habitats: 5210 Arborescent Matorral with Juniperus Spp [pdf]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
The arborescent matorral with Juniperusspp. habitat is a scrub vegetation that isfoundin the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Juniperusspp. are evergreen shrubsor small trees with few vital needs that, thanks to their morpho-physiologicalcharacteristics, coloniseharsh environments suchas rocky coasts and dry, incoherent soils. Juniper, with its deep and well-developed root system, is therefore an important species for soil retention and consolidation,preventing soil erosion caused by rain and wind. It is important as an ecotone,since it is often a transition area between ecosystems. In winter the habitat is arefuge forseveral mammals and wintering birds due to the protectionfrom predators and warm sheltered conditions offered by the evergreen vegetation, and the presenceofinsects and of autumn-floweringand fruitingplants, such as Arbutus unedo(strawberry tree), Phyllirea angustifolia (mock privet) and thejuniper itself.Old junipers often are ” living monuments” due totheir age and tortuous trunks. In Francesomespecimens of juniperdespite their small size (1.5m high, trunk of8cm diameter) are 1150 years old.There is a specimen ofcommon juniper aged 2000 years with a trunk of2.75m in circumference. This habitat type can be both an arborescent pre-forestal stage (secondary matorral), or a ” permanent plant community' when environmental conditions (aridity, rocky soils, etc.) do not allow the evolution to forest (primarymatorral). Fires, overgrazing, urbanisation and touristpressure present the main threats to the habitat. Habitat loss is also frequently due tothe clearing of areas forstock raising oragriculture.Another threatis linked to transition of the secondary matorrals to forests. This process is frequent in Portugal,France and Italy. Management activities of matorrals vary, depending on their natureand location. Ingeneral we can distinguish two management models, primarymatorrals needing natural evolution andsecondary matorrals requiring active management. The first model is suitable for matorralsofprojecting ledges, cornices orrocky slopes, almost inaccessible and not threatened by human activities, and coastal matorrals, where the main threatislinked totourism.Hereitis necessarytoavoidactionsthatcantrigger erosion such asconstructionof new roads or tracks, overgrazing and climbing. The other model should be applied to secondary matorrals,strictly linked to human related activities, such asstock raising, requiring active management for their conservation. This is thecase for small sites, where it isimportant toblock colonisation by competing shrubsor tree species and favourthe renovation of juniper plants by keeping the habitat open with moderate grazing and partial scrub clearance. The maintenance of the habitat will result in higher landscape and habitat diversity.

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