Central European BioProvince

This BioProvince (as defined by Armen Takhtajan) extends eastwards from the eastern edge of the Central Massif, the western edge of the Lorraine Plateau and the Massif of the Ardennes, the eastern shores of the Jutland Peninsula and southeastern shores of Norway. Its northern limit extends to the northern shores of the Gulf of Finland, the western shores of the Karelian Isthmus, and the entire western shore of Estonia.  Further on, the border moves south to the west of Riga, cuts through Latvia, passes south of Vilnius, turns towards the Belovezh Forest and west to Lvov. It then passes south of the Dniester River and proceeds along the Prut River to the lower Danube Lowlands. In the south it includes the Alps, the northern Appenines, the Transylvanian Alps and the Carpathians. The geology is complex but the Tertiary orogenic episode that created the Alps has been described as the climax of European geology. The climate is described as transitional and resulting from interaction of both maritime and continental air masses. The more rugged areas have colder winters with substantial mountain snowfall. The flora includes a multitude of endemic genera and species. The Alpine region alone hosts some 5000 native vascular plants (about 40 % of the European flora) and of these about 350 are endemic. The main natural plant formations consist of broad-leaved deciduous woodlands with beech, oak or hornbeam dominating the climax communities, while in the wetter areas alder, willow, poplar or ash become the main species. In the uplands these give way to conifer forests but beech can also occur at high altitudes, especially in more southern areas. The lowland mires have much in common with those found in the Atlantic-European BioProvince but there are some distinctive wetland communities in the sub-alpine zones. Except for in certain alpine zones and in the eastern steppe, most of the grasslands are man made. The only coastal vegetation occurs on the eastern shore of the Baltic.

The following accounts for this BioProvince have been written or will be written with particular reference to endemic and locally important species. Accounts available are displayed in green or yellow. Those displayed in red are either in the pipeline or awaiting expert contributions.


Major Ecosystems
Endemic Flora (Alps)
Endemic Flora (Carpathians)
Bryophyte Flora
Fungus Flora
Lichen Flora
Invertebrate Fauna
Amphibian Fauna
Reptile Fauna
Bird Fauna
Mammal Fauna
Conservation Status