Quercus robur 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Fagales Fagaceae

Scientific Name: Quercus robur L.
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English European Oak, English Oak, Pedunculate Oak
French Chêne Pédonculé
Quercus longaeva Salisb.
Quercus orocantabrica Rivas Mart., Penas, T.E.Díaz & Llamas
Taxonomic Source(s): The Plant List. 2017. The Plant List. Version 1.1. Available at:

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2017-02-13
Assessor(s): Barstow, M. & Khela, S.
Reviewer(s): Westwood, M.
Contributor(s): Stanley, C.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Rivers, M.C.
Quercus robur is a large, iconic tree species. Its native distribution covers all of Europe and spreads into the Caucasus, Russia, Kazakhstan and Iran. The species is globally assessed as Least Concern. Quercus robur has a wide native range and although it is threatened by a number of factors (timber trade, habitat loss, pests and diseases) decline is not so great that the threatened criteria are met. The species is still considered common and abundant over much of its range and is regionally assessed as Least Concern in both Europe and Asia. It is also well represented in ex situ collections and is found in many habitats protected under EU legislation. It is recommended the species be monitored for decline across its range and also more population information gathered for the species outside of Europe.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Quercus robur is a very widespread species. It is found in most countries in Europe and also in Russia, The Caucasus, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkey (GRIN 2017, Ducousso et al. 2003). The species is also cultivated outside its native range. Quercus robur can grow up to 1,300 m asl in the Alps (Eaton et al. 2016). The species extent of occurrence (EOO) far exceeds the criteria to qualify for a threatened category under Criterion B.
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Armenia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France (Corsica); Georgia; Germany; Greece (Greece (mainland)); Hungary; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Ireland; Italy (Italy (mainland)); Kazakhstan; Latvia; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Moldova; Montenegro; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal (Portugal (mainland)); Romania; Russian Federation (Central European Russia, Dagestan, East European Russia, European Russia, North European Russia, Northwest European Russia, South European Russia); Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Turkey (Turkey-in-Asia, Turkey-in-Europe); Ukraine (Krym, Ukraine (main part)); United Kingdom (Great Britain, Northern Ireland)
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):1300
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The species has historically gone through population decline as a result of the timber trade and disease die back however the species is still widespread and common (Ducousso et al. 2003). Its large native range is likely to reflect a large population. Local population declines have however been reported, and population is considered in decline within Europe (Khela et al. 2012). Population size and trends across the species' Asian distribution are not known. The population is potentially at risk of decline as a result of climate change, which could result in higher disease risk, a loss of suitable habitat and greater exposure to unsuitable weather conditions (Jonsson 2012). This is based on climate change and emissions models generated for the next 50 to 60 years however we do not know the the extent to which  dispersal capacity, effect of/on associated species, generation time and other ecological factors were considered when generating the models. These factors would need full consideration to accurately assess population decline.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This is a large tree species, that can grow to 30–40 m in height. The species is long lived, often living for over 800 years (Ducousoo et al. 2003). Growth is most common in temperate, mixed deciduous forests often in association with Quercus petraea. Quercus robur can be considered a pioneer species and is often found on thinly covered plains and hills (Ducousoo et al. 2003). Fertile and moist soils are preferred but the species can tolerate mild drought and over adverse conditions (Eaton et al. 2016). The species can tolerate flooding and is often found along the sides of rivers. Trees flower late in the year to avoid frost damage (Eaton et al. 2016). Quercus robur provides a rich ecosystem as light can penetrate the canopy and the species is a valuable food source and host for woodland fauna, bryophytes and fungi. It can grow in association with beech (Fagus sylvatica), hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), ash (Fraxinus sp.), maples (Acer spp.) and limes (Tilia spp.) (Eaton et al. 2016).

Within Europe the species is found in several habitats protected under the European Commission Habitats directive. These include: 9190 Old acidophilous oak woods with Quercus robur on sandy plains, 91F0 Riparian mixed forests of Quercus robur, Ulmus laevis and Ulmus minor, Fraxinus excelsior or Fraxinus angustifolia, along the great rivers (Ulmenion minoris), 9230 Galicio-Portuguese oak woods with Quercus robur and Quercus pyrenaica and 9160 Sub-Atlantic and medio-European oak or oak-hornbeam forests of the Carpinion betuli among others (JNCC 2007, Khela 2012). The state and protection of habitats within the species' Asian range are not known.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The species is used for its timber. This is used to make furniture, barrels, construction, ship building, floor boards, joinery and veneer (Eaton et al. 2016). The species is often coppiced for this purpose. The wood can also be used for fuel and the acorns are often used as livestock fodder (Eaton et al. 2016). Different parts of the tree display a variety of medicinal properties including treating diarrhea and reducing inflammation (European Medicines Agency 2010). The species is also widely planted as an ornamental.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Historically, Quercus robur populations within Europe have been subject to decline. In the UK during the 1920's there was population loss due to defoliation by caterpillars of the oak leaf roller moth (Tortix virdana) and then again in the late 1980's when there was drought damage (Gibbs 1999). In general across Europe Q. robur populations are not as large as they once were due to clearance of native forest for urban and agricultural expansion and for timber (Ducoussco et al. 2003). There was also loss due to disease. The species is still threatened by these factors. Oak timber is still highly desirable and in demand however it is more commonly harvested from managed forests with well implemented silvicultural practices (Ducoussco et al. 2003). We are also currently in the midst of another oak die-back predominantly due to infestation of trees by Phytophthora root pathogens, in particular Phytophthora ramorum, an invasive fungus from North America which causes Sudden Oak Death. There is also the pathogenic threat from the jewel beetle (Agrilus biguttatus) which is causing Acute Oak Decline. Both these infections seriously reduce the lifespan of oaks, reduce productivity and kill mature trees (Eaton et al. 2016). Trees are also susceptible to bark stripping by squirrels (Eaton et al. 2016). They may also experience loss of genetic diversity due to introgression with oak cultivars (Ducoussco et al. 2003). In the future the species may become more threatened by climate change. The European Commission predicts that Q. robur populations are likely to move further north and east from its current range (EFDAC 2015). Climate change also has the potential to make the species more susceptible to infection and will expose the species to greater environmental stress from drought or flooding and temperature extremes (Jonsson 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Quercus robur is found in at least 219 ex situ collections from world wide sources (BGCI 2017). Globally the species was previously assessed as not threatened (Oldfield et al. 2007). Regionally the species has been assessed as Least Concern  in Central Asia (Eastwood et al. 2008) and in Europe (Khela 2012). Nationally the species has been assessed as not threatened in Switzerland (Moser et al. 2002), Luxembourg (Colling et al. 2005), Denmark (NERI 2007), Estonia (eBiodiversity Estonia 2002), Germany (Ludwig et al. 1996), Norway (Artsdatabanken 2010) and the United Kingdom (Cheffings et al. 2005). Within Albania the species is considered vulnerable. Quercus robur is well represented within ex situ collections, is found within protected areas across its native range and is found in many protected habitat types under Annex 1 of the EC habitats directive. It is still recommended that the population be monitored for decline due to the current loss of species to disease and potentially to climate change. Research should be undertaken to understand the population and any threats to the species within Asia. Ducousso et al. (2003) also recommend the maintenance of natural regeneration of forests, the use of local seeds sources when plantations are being established and the sampling of seed from marginal populations.

Citation: Barstow, M. & Khela, S. 2017. Quercus robur. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T63532A3126467. . Downloaded on 26 September 2018.
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