Maquis shrubland

The maquis? / I (Italian: macchia kors. Machja, Croat. Makija, French maquis ), also Maquis, is a secondary formed, anthropogenic, evergreen shrub formation of Mediterranean sclerophyllous vegetation zone.


The plant formation of the maquis is characteristic of areas with a Mediterranean climate. This comes in a broken belt in corresponding latitudes around the world at the rainier west side of continents before. The temperate - subtropical climate is characterized by relatively abundant winter rain, summer drought and absence of night frosts throughout the year. Very low precipitation and continental climate regions are avoided. The corresponding biome of Mediterranean vegetation occurs adjacent to the Mediterranean region extended to (California, central Chile, South Africa, South Australia ) itself in four other areas of the world. In these regions, shrub formations occur, the facially similar to the maquis very strong and ecological requirements, even though they do not have a single plant species together ( convergent evolution ). The maquis vegetation is appropriate in America Chaparral ( Spanish-language also Matorral ), called in South Africa Fynbos.


The maquis emerged from forests that have been over-exploited by man and his livestock grazing. Thousands of years of excessive use by humans ( burning, grazing, timber extraction ) resulted in degradation of the landscape usually determined hartlaubigen large oak forests resembling a the Niederwald, three to five feet high scrub. In the Mediterranean, the tall-growing and closed oak forest, which was formerly characteristic of the region, shrunk to tiny, mostly partially degraded relics. The natural forest vegetation has to be inferred from relics and degeneration stages here. The Macchienvegetation has retained most of the plant species involved from extinction and is able to regenerate the forest.


Closed Macchien are difficult traversable through the dense bushes with their branches intertwined and interwoven thorn or spiked vines for humans and larger mammals. The strong shading by the evergreen leaves causes the understory has only a sparse and species-poor herb layer. Through intensive grazing of the maquis arise as further degeneration stages of species-rich, low-growing rock Gentiles. These vegetation types are named differently, garrigue in France, Phrygana in Greece, Tomillares in Spain. Often maquis and rocky Gentiles alternate and overlap.

Use by humans

The main use of the maquis animal is the domestic goat whose food share may be 60 percent or more of leaves and branches. Far fewer are sheep and pigs in the maquis at home. When was the grazing of animals and the maquis is periodically burned to allow the grazing animals access to grazing land and improve their food. This is now prohibited in all Mediterranean countries, but in many cases continues to function. The maquis can regenerate after fire in a few years when more degrading influences fail.

Macchienvegetation can be very extended in parts of the Mediterranean, especially in the islands. So more than half of Corsica maquis covered. The maquis is extremely vulnerable to bush fires. After such a destructive fire but the same plant community is growing again approach within a few years ( an example from Turkey and Sardinia). If the maquis burned too often, they can not fully regenerate. Macchienvegetation marked by frequent fire stands out due to the retreat of sclerophyllous evergreen tree and shrub species, mainly in favor of the cistus (Cistus spp.). The evergreen, one to three meter high shrubs are sometimes so dense that under no herb layer is formed (similar to the hedges in Central Europe). As a rule, been cleared areas with low vegetation are disseminated mosaic.

Vegetation types

According to their wide geographical and ecological amplitude of the Macchienvegetation is in different regions, depending on the geological subsoil, local climate and land use history, pronounced differently. The species backbone remains everywhere the types of the original forest formations. The Macchienvegetation differs from the forest mainly due to lower plant height, but under favorable conditions can also survive in the maquis in principle all kinds of deciduous forests. Therefore the maquis and the high forests of the sclerophyllous vegetation zone in the same class are grouped together ( the holm oak forests, Quercetea ilicis ) phytosociological. The holm oak (Quercus ilex ) itself is regularly involved in bush form at the Macchienvegetation, provided it is not too severely degraded. Other oak species, especially the heat more loving, especially Eastern Mediterranean kermes oak (Quercus coccifera ) can last as spherical befressene dwarf shrubs even down to the rock Gentiles. Other widespread species are turpentine (Pistacia terebinthus ), Broad-leaved privet ( Phillyrea latifolia ), Evergreen Buckthorn ( Rhamnus alaternus ) and the twining species Spitzblättriger asparagus (Asparagus acutifolius ) and Rough sarsaparilla ( Smilax aspera ). Near the coast the conspicuous tree spurge (Euphorbia dendroides ) forms its own aspects.

On particularly hot and dry sites, also mostly close to the sea, the holm oak can fail. Characteristic here are the wild form of the olive tree ( Olea europaea var sylvestris), the carob tree ( Ceratonia siliqua ), the mastic tree ( Pistacia lentiscus ), the bush germander ( Teucrium fruticans ) and others. Typical of Macchien base stations are poor tree heath (Erica arborea ), Lavandula stoechas ( Lavendula stoechas ), Sage- Rockrose (Cistus salviifolius ), broom ( Genista spp.). Calcareous sites prefer, for example, myrtle ( Myrtus communis ) and the only ostmediterran common Eastern Strawberry Tree (Arbutus andrachne ).