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Alpine Biogeographical Region

Europe has several important mountain chains which stretch across the majority of the countries. Within the EU, five of the longest and highest ranges have been included in the Alpine biogeographic region.

They comprise the Alps which stretch over France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Slovenia and the non EU countries of Switzerland and Monaco, the Apennines that run down the spine of Italy, the Pyrenees on the border between Spain and France, the Scandes which straddle Sweden, Finland and Norway and the Carpathians that extend well beyond the EU frontiers of Slovakia and Poland into Romania and the Ukraine.

The Alpine region has very rich and diverse biodiversity. Almost two thirds of the plants on the European continent are present here. The high peaks harbour many endemics whilst, on the lower slopes, species diversity is more influenced by its transition with other biogeographical regions and the long history of compatible human land uses. Altogether, 105 habitat types, 97 plants and 134 animal species listed in the Habitats Directive are found in the Alpine region.

In terms of fauna, the area has become an important retreat for many species originally occurring in higher numbers in the lowlands. Large carnivores (wolves, bears, lynx) and raptors (eagles, falcons, vultures) have been drawn to the mountains because, unlike most other regions, they still harbour large unfragmented areas where human disturbance is limited.

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Member States:

AT • BG • HR • FI • FR • DE •  IT • PL •  RO • SK • SI • ES • SE

Lead country: Austria

 

More information:

Ecosystems and Habitats
Natura 2000 Biogeographical Process in the Alpine Region
Regional Cooperation
Relevant Projects
Relevant Publications

 

Ecosystems and Habitats

Ecosystems

Habitats

Rivers and lakes

3140 Hard oligo-mesotrophic waters with benthic vegetation of Chara spp.

3150 Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition - type vegetation

3220 Alpine rivers and the herbaceous vegetation along their banks

3230 Alpine rivers and their ligneous vegetation with Myricaria germanica

3240 Alpine rivers and their ligneous vegetation with Salix elaeagnos

3260 Water courses of plain to montane levels with the Ranunculion fluitantis and Callitricho-Batrachion vegetation

91E0 Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)

Grassland

6210 Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco - Brometalia) * important orchid sites

6230 Species-rich Nardus grasslands, on silicious substrates in mountain areas (and sub-mountain areas in Continental Europe)

6410 Molinia meadows on calcareous, peaty or clayey-silt-laden soils (Molinion caeruleae)

6430 Hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities of plains and of the montane to alpine levels

6510 Lowland hay meadows (Alopecurus pratensis, Sanguisorba officinalis)

6520 Mountain hay meadows

Inland wetlands

7110 Active raised bogs

7140 Transition mires and quaking bogs

7230 Alkaline fens

91D0 Bog woodland

Woodland and forest

9130 Asperulo-Fagetum beech forests

9170 Galio-Carpinetum oak hornbeam forests

9180 Tilio-Acerion forests of slopes, screes and ravines

9260 Castanea sativa woods

9410 Acidophilous Picea forests of the montane to alpine levels (Vaccinio-Piceetea)

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Natura 2000 Biogeographical Process in the Alpine Region

Document library

Background document (Updated Dec 2013)

Workshop (12-14 June 2013)

Seminar (26-27 November 2013)

Background documents Second Alpine Seminar (2017)

Seminar (21-23 June 2017)

 

Discussion Forum

Sub-forum dedicated to the Alpine biogeographical region

 

 Preparatory / Follow up actions

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