Coniferous woodland

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Woodland, forest and other wooded land 

Coniferous woodland

Temperate mountain Picea woodland

Temperate mountain Abies woodland

Mediterranean mountain Abies woodland

Temperate subalpine Larix, Pinus cembra and Pinus uncinata woodlands

Temperate continental Pinus sylvestris woodland

Temperate and submediterranean montane Pinus sylvestris-nigra woodland

Mediterranean montane Pinus sylvestris-nigra woodland

Mediterranean montane Cedrus woodland

Mediterranean and Balkan subalpine Pinus heldreichii-peucis woodland

Mediterranean lowland to submontane Pinus woodland

Pinus canariensis woodland

Taxus baccata woodland

Mediterranean Cupressaceae woodland

Macaronesian Juniperus woodland

Picea taiga woodland

Pinus sylvestris taiga woodland

Larix taiga woodland

Pinus bog woodland

Picea bog woodland

Conifer plantations of non site-native trees

  • Klemens Schadauer - (not authenticated) 22 Jun 2016 15:50:40

    Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to comment on the EUNIS classification.

    I am sending these comments in my function as Chair of European National Forest Inventory Network (ENFIN). National Forest Inventories (NFIs) are the main source of data about European forests. Thus many countries use their data to apply also the EUNIS Classification for their forests.

    Therefore I am wondering about the fact, that you are using the term “woodlands” in almost all levels of your classification system. Only in the heading you use the wording: “forest and woodland habitat classification”.

    There have been debates for decades how to define a forest, mainly driven by FAO. Since 2003 the ENFIN works on establishing so called “reference definitions” where also the term “forest” is defined based on the FAO definition in a way that NFIs can apply it with a minimum of uncertainty. There is also international consensus about the term “other wooded land”, but up to my knowledge the term “woodlands” has been neither discussed nor defined internationally. Therefore I would strongly recommend using the word “forest” instead of “woodlands”.

    As far as I know around 50 Mio. hectares of European forests belong to mixed forests (coniferous/broadleaved). If I understood your proposal correctly, these mixture types were skipped. I am convinced that it will be more complicated and lead to more uncertainty for the users (countries) to assign these mixed forests either to broadleaved or coniferous types.


    Klemens Schadauer

    ENFIN Chair

  • litsigle (Glenn Litsios) 23 Jun 2016 10:47:09

    The grouping of Pinus cembra and Larix forests (G3.2) with Pinus uncinata forests (G3.3) is unconvincing. The former are usually acidophilous and phytosociologically closer to spruce forests (Piceion abietis = Vaccinio-Piceion) than to P. uncinata forests (belonging to Erico-Pinetea).

    It is desirable to add Molinia arundinacea species diagnostic of the unit G3.4

  • gaudivin (Vincent Gaudillat) 23 Jun 2016 15:09:43

    This section is composed of 20 units defined by combined criteria (dominant species, geographic distribution, sometimes altitudinal belt). Thus it is difficult to navigate in this section and to understand its structure. A solution could be to revise the divisions of G at level 2 and so to have more level 2-units. For instance, the classification of the Interpretation Manual of the habitats of Community interest divides "Forests" in 6 main types of woodland habitats that could be followed or adapted to EUNIS.

    G3.9a Taxus baccata woodland

    A more detailed description would be very useful, especially explanations on how it is structured by trees: which place occupies Fagus or Quercus compared to Taxus? It would be useful to check if non-Mediterranean Taxus baccata woodlands are restricted to the British Isles or if it exists elsewhere in the Atlantic region.

    G3.F Conifer plantations of non site-native trees

    This habitat could go into chapter I (“Regularly or recently cultivated agricultural, horticultural and domestic habitats”). It appears more intuitive to search non-natural habitats in this chapter. That means to restrict the chapters A to H to natural and semi-natural habitats.

  • kontutyt (Tytti Kontula) 01 Jul 2016 12:33:53

    These comments have been collected from several boreal experts and we are happy to continue the discussion even after this consultation process to improve the applicability of EUNIS also in the boreal zone.

    1. First of all, I would like to remind you that we have suggested an additional division of boreal forests already earlier in the process (forests on brown soils <> podzolic soils). It would better reflect the edaphic variation of boreal forests as well as the physiognomic differences of understorey vegetation. Finnish forest experts Tonteri, Salemaa & Hotanen wrote in their comment 4 Feb 2015: The most important ecological division in boreal forests on mineral soils is in the soil formation: brown soils and podzolic soils. The understorey vegetation in forests on brown soils is eutrophic (or sometimes meso-eutrophic). It is dominated by grasses and herbs and has a specialist bryophyte flora. All of these species groups have a high species diversity, and many vegetation types have been described. The shrub layer is well developed. In contrast to forests on brown soils in the temperate zone, the tree stand is usually dominated by Picea abies, sometimes by deciduous trees and seldom by Pinus sylvestris. Since these forests are different from the forests on podzolic soils, it would be a good idea to have a separate class for these “Boreal forests on brown soils” or “Herb-rich boreal forests”.

    We ask you to consider this option once more. However, our further comments concern the classification as it is in the current version. If you decided to add another type for boreal forests on brown soils, please, do not hesitate to ask for our help to create a description and species lists for that type.

    2. We have a general comment on the current types of taiga forests (by Tonteri, Salemaa & Hotanen 4 Feb 2015): It does not make much sense to divide forests into taiga woodland classes based on their actual tree stands. Therefore, we suggest that forests on mesic sites belong to G3.A and forests on sub-xeric, xeric and barren sites belong to G3.B irrespective of their dominant tree species, as has been done in the European Red List of Habitat types.

    3. Please note our view on the diagnostic, constant and dominant species of G3.A Picea taiga woodland and G3.B Pinus taiga woodland. These lists were compiled by Tiina Tonteri (Natural Resources Institute Finland) and they are based on real forest inventory data.

    G3.A Diagnostic species: Anemone nemorosa, Frangula alnus, Brachythecium oedipodium, Carex digitata, Calamagrostis arundinacea, Dicranum majus, Dryopteris carthusiana, Equisetum sylvaticum, Fragaria vesca, Geranium sylvaticum, Gymnocarpium dryopteris, Linnaea borealis, Luzula pilosa, Maianthemum bifolium, Melampyrum sylvaticum, Melica nutans, Orthilia secunda, Oxalis acetosella, Picea abies, Prunus padus, Rhodobryum roseum, Rubus saxatilis, Viola riviniana

    G3.A Constant species: Betula pendula, Betula pubescens, Brachythecium oedipodium, Calamagrostis arundinacea, Deschampsia flexuosa, Dicranum polysetum, Dicranum scoparium, Hylocomium splendens, Luzula pilosa, Maianthemum bifolium, Melampyrum pratense, Melampyrum sylvaticum, Picea abies, Pinus sylvestris, Pleurozium schreberi, Polytrichum commune, Sorbus aucuparia, Trientalis europaea, Vaccinium myrtillus, Vaccinium vitis-idaea


    G3.A Dominant species: Deschampsia flexuosa, Picea abies, Pinus sylvestris, Pleurozium schreberi, Hylocomium splendens, Vaccinium myrtillus, Vaccinium vitis-idaea ,

    G3.B Diagnostic species: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Calluna vulgaris, Cetraria islandica, Cladina arbuscula, Cladina mitis, Cladina rangiferina, Cladina stellaris, Dicranum drummondii, Dicranum fuscescens, Dicranum spurium, Diphasiastrum complanatum, Festuca ovina, Polytrichum juniperinum, Stereocaulon pascale

    G3.B Constant species: Betula pubescens, Calluna vulgaris, Cladina arbuscula, Cladina mitis, Cladina rangiferina, Cladina stellaris, Deschampsia flexuosa, Dicranum polysetum, Dicranum scoparium, Empetrum nigrum, Hylocomium splendens, Ledum palustre, Pinus sylvestris, Pleurozium schreberi, Polytrichum commune, Polytrichum juniperinum, Sorbus aucuparia, Vaccinium myrtillus, Vaccinium uliginosum, Vaccinium vitis-idaea

    G3.B Dominant species: Calluna vulgaris, Cladina arbuscula, Cladina rangiferina, Empetrum nigrum, Pinus sylvestris, Pleurozium schreberi, Vaccinium myrtillus, Vaccinium vitis-idaea.

    4. We would like to make a few comments concerning the descriptions of mire forests G3.Da Pinus bog woodland and G3.Db Picea bog woodland.

    Most of the area of Picea abies dominated mires in Europe is located within the boreal zone, where they range from eutrophic to oligotrophic.  Boreal mires dominated by Picea abies should not be called ‘bog’, since that word refers to ombrotrophic mires and there always is some mire margin influence in Picea mire woodlands. Thus we suggest a new name and description:

    "G3.Db Picea mire woodland. Coniferous woodland, often sparsely wooded, dominated by Picea abies and sometimes forming extensive stands on peaty soils. Picea mire woodland is usually found on minerotrophic peats or on shallow peaty soils at mire margins, but can also occur on ombrotrophic active bog surface on deep peat. Although Picea abies tends to be the canopy dominant, other tree species are often present. Betula pubescens, Pinus sylvestris and Salix spp. are common associates, sometimes with Alnus glutinosa and A. incana. There is a large variation in understorey vegetation, as the situations range from eutrophic to oligotrophic and ombrotrophic."

    The description of G3.Da Pinus bog woodland should also be completed with this sentence: ”There is a large variation in understorey vegetation, as the situations range from eutrophic to oligotrophic and ombrotrophic."

    5. The species lists of G3.Da and G3.Db do not seem very representative, even for these broad types of mire forests. Unfortunately we don’t have time to make better lists for the boreal zone at the moment, but good literature exists also in English:

    Eurola, S., Hicks, S. & Kaakinen, E. 1984. key to Finnish mire types. In: Moore, P.D. (ed.), European mires: 11-117. Academic Press, London.

    Lindholm, T. & Heikkilä, R. (eds.) Finland – land of mires. The Finnish Environment 23/2006. Finnish Environment Institute. Helsinki. 270 s. (Available at

    6. It is not clear to us where drained mires should be placed in EUNIS classification. This means that c. 5 million hectares of peatlands are without an appropriate class. They should not be mixed with natural (or undrained) mire types and they do not fit in G.3.F Conifer plantations of non site-native trees either.

  • mcdouarn (Amy McDougall) 05 Jul 2016 10:12:43

    UK Forestry Commission  (England)

    1. Level 3 name: G3.F - ‘Conifer plantations of non site-native trees’

    Propose name is changed to: G3.F - ‘Conifer planted forest of non site-native trees’.

    Reason: Same reason as given above for preferring to use the term ‘planted forest’.

    EUNIS description: ‘Plantations of exotic conifers or of European conifers out of their natural range, or of native species planted in clearly unnatural stands, typically as monocultures in situations where other species would naturally dominate.’

    Propose description is changed to: ‘Cultivated conifer tree formations planted for the production of wood, composed of exotic conifer species or of European conifers out of their natural range’.

    Reason: As given above. We also suggest adding the ‘production of wood’ clause and changing the order of the remaining words so the description is consistent with G1.C. 

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