Habitat quality assessment of Atlantic wet heathlands in Serra do Xistral, NW Spain

  1. Carlos Valentín Muñoz Barcia 1
  2. Laura Lagos Abarzuza 1
  3. César A. Blanco Arias 2
  4. Ramón Alberto Díaz Varela 2
  5. Jaime Fagúndez 1
  1. 1 Universidade da Coruña

    Universidade da Coruña

    La Coruña, España

    ROR https://ror.org/01qckj285

  2. 2 Universidade de Santiago de Compostela

    Universidade de Santiago de Compostela

    Santiago de Compostela, España

    ROR https://ror.org/030eybx10

Cuadernos de investigación geográfica: Geographical Research Letters

ISSN: 0211-6820

Ano de publicación: 2019

Número: 45

Páxinas: 533-549

Tipo: Artigo

DOI: 10.18172/CIG.3628 DIALNET GOOGLE SCHOLAR lock_openDialnet editor

Outras publicacións en: Cuadernos de investigación geográfica: Geographical Research Letters


Citas recibidas

  • Citas en Scopus: 6 (14-01-2023)
  • Citas en Dialnet Métricas: 1 (25-01-2023)
  • Citas en Web of Science: 5 (02-01-2023)

SCImago Journal Rank

  • Ano 2019
  • Impacto SJR da revista: 0.583
  • Cuartil maior: Q2
  • Área: Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous) Cuartil: Q2 Posición na área: 83/339
  • Área: Environmental Science (miscellaneous) Cuartil: Q2 Posición na área: 99/385
  • Área: Geography, Planning and Development Cuartil: Q2 Posición na área: 180/787

Índice Dialnet de Revistas

  • Ano 2019
  • Factor de impacto da revista: 2,070
  • Ámbito: GEOGRAFÍA Cuartil: C1 Posición no ámbito: 1/42


  • Ciencias Sociais: A

Scopus CiteScore

  • Ano 2019
  • CiteScore da revista: 4.0
  • Área: Geography, Planning and Development Percentil: 87
  • Área: Environmental Science (miscellaneous) Percentil: 81
  • Área: Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous) Percentil: 75

Journal Citation Indicator (JCI)

  • Ano 2019
  • JCI da revista: 0.82
  • Cuartil maior: Q2
  • Área: GEOGRAPHY, PHYSICAL Cuartil: Q2 Posición na área: 29/60


The assessment of habitat quality, especially in semi-natural managed systems, provides a powerful tool for monitoring short and long-term conservation actions. The Erica mackayana Atlantic wet heathlands of the Serra do Xistral protected area in Galicia, NW Spain, represent a dynamic system with high conservation value associated to traditional management through grazing of free-ranging cattle and wild ponies. Here, we aimed to develop a spatially-explicit, quantitative method for Habitat Quality Assessment, defining an optimum state and the alternative states that may arise from habitat degradation. Vegetation structure, grass-shrub cover ratio, gorse cover, presence of bracken, exotic species such as pine trees and saplings, erosive events and altered hydrological dynamics were identified as the main indicators of habitat degradation. A heterogeneous vegetation structure with a dominant shrub cover of c.0.5 m height and constant gaps among shrubs, with a limited cover of gorse and absence of pine trees, bramble and bracken, and absence of erosive events was recognized as the optimum state. We applied the Habitat Quality Assessment (HQA) method to a pilot area within the Xistral protected site. Wet heathland was the dominant habitat, covering 37.1% of the area. 7.0% of the assessed heathlands were recognized as in the optimum state for habitat quality. Recommendations are made for habitat management to revert low scores, mainly by the adjustment of livestock numbers and the removal of exotic pine trees.

Información de financiamento

This study was financed by the EU LIFE+ program through the LIFE IN COMMON LAND project (LIFE16 NAT/ES/000707).


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