A heath is a shrubland habitat is mainly in charge draining infertile, acidic soils and is characterized by open, low-growing woody vegetation. Moorland generally relates to high ground heaths [1] with – especially in the British Isles – a cooler and more humid climate.

Heaths are widespread worldwide, but is fast disappearing and is considered a rare habitat in Europe. [2] They form extensive and very diverse communities across Australia in humid and sub-humid areas. Fire regimes with recurring burning are required for maintenance of the moors. [3] Even more diverse but less widespread heath communities occur in southern Africa. Extensive heath communities can also be found in the California chaparral, New Caledonia, central Chile and along the shores of the Mediterranean. In addition to these extensive heath vegetation areas are also in dispersed locations on all continents except Antarctica.


Moorland is favored where climatic conditions are usually hot and dry, especially in the summer, and acidic soils, low fertility and often sandy and very free draining, marshes occur where drainage is poor, but is usually only small in scope. Heaths dominated by low shrubs, 20 cm (7.9 inch) to 2 meters (7 feet) long.

Heath vegetation can be extremely plant species rich and heathland in Australia is home to some 3,700 endemic or typical species in addition to a large number of less restricted species. [3] The fynbosljunghedar in South Africa is second only to tropical rainforests in plant biodiversity with over 7000 species. [4], in sharp contrast, the small pockets of heath in Europe is extremely depauperate with flora mainly consisting of heather ( Calluna vulgaris ), heath ( Erica species) and gorse ( Ulex species).

The bird fauna of the moorlands are usually cosmopolitan species in the region. [3] [4] In depauperate moorland bird species in Europe tend to be more characteristic of society and include Montagu’s harrier and Tree Pipit. In Australia moors avian fauna is dominated by nectar feeding birds such as honey-eaters and lorikeets many other birds from emus to örnarär also common in Australian heathlands. Australian heathland is also home to the world’s only nectar feeding land mammal: the honey possum. The bird fauna of the South African fynbos include sunbirds, singers and siskins. Heather moorland is also an excellent habitat for insects including ants, moths, butterflies and wasps with numerous species restricted entirely to it.

anthropogenic heaths

Anthropogenic heath habitats is a cultural landscape that can be found throughout the world in places as diverse as northern and western Europe, America, Australia, New Zealand, Madagascar and New Guinea.

These moors originally created or expanded by centuries of human clearance of natural forests and forest vegetation by grazing and burning. In some cases, the clearance went as far as areas of moorland has given way to open spots of clean sand and dunes, with a very local desert climate, even in Europe, can create local temperatures of 50 ° C (122 ° F) in summer , drying of sand location bordering the moors and further increase its vulnerability to forest fires. Referring to the moors in England, says Rackham “Heath is clearly a product of human activity and must be managed as heaths; if neglected they turn into woodland. ” [5]

In recent years, conservation value, even these artificial heaths have become much more appreciated, [ why? ] [ Citation needed ] and thus most protected heath.They, however, also threatened trees intrusion because of the demise of traditional techniques such as grazing and burning, which brokered landscape. Some are also threatened by urban sprawl. Anthropogenic heathlands maintained artificially by a combination of grazing and periodic burning (known as swailing [6] ), or (rarely) mowing; if not so maintained the rapid re-colonized by forest or woodland. The re-colonizing tree species will depend on what is available as the local seed sources and therefore can not reflect the natural vegetation before the moors established.

See also

  • plants portal
  • environment portal
  • bolster hed
  • krita hed
  • garrigue
  • stain
  • Matorral
  • buskmark


  1. Jump up ^ Polunin, Oleg; Walters, Martin (1985). A guide to vegetation in the UK and Europe. Oxford University Press. p. 220. ISBN 0-19-217713-3.
  2. Jump up ^ Anon. “Heath and Moorland”. Field Studies Council. FSC.Retrieved October 4, 2013.
  3. ^ Hoppa upp till:a b c Specht, RL “Heathlands” i “Australian Vegetation” RH Groves ed. Cambridge University Press 1988
  4. ^ Jump up to: ab “Montane fynbos and renosterveld”. Terrestrial ecoregion. World Wildlife Fund.
  5. Jump up ^ Rackham, Oliver (1997). History countryside. Bird Phoenix. p. 282nd
  6. Hoppa upp^ http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-devon-22054636bbc.co.uk