EUNIS heathland, scrub and tundra habitat revision - consultation

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I am pleased to inform you that a proposed revision of the heath, scrub and tundra part of the EUNIS habitats classification, levels 1-3, is available for your review up until 1 July 2016.

The EUNIS habitat classification is now widely used and has been adopted as a reference under the INSPIRE Directive. However the current classification mostly dates from 2004 (Davies, Moss & Hill 2004) with only a few small changes since then and there have been frequent demands for an update to take into account our increasing knowledge and experience in using the classification.

A meeting in Copenhagen in October 2011 agreed that a revision of the classification was required. Following a workshop held at the European Environment Agency in December 2013 a proposed revision of the marine section (section A) was the subject of an EIONET consultation in summer 2015. At the same time work was started on the forest and later the heath sections of the classification (sections G and F).

The revision of heathland, scrub and tundra habitats was aided by a revised crosswalk to syntaxa (plant communities) produced by the European Vegetation Survey (a working group of the International Association of Vegetation Science) linking EUNIS level 3 habitats to the EuroVeg Checklist (Mucina et al in press). Details of the review process, together with information (including species composition) on the proposed heathland, scrub and tundra habitat types can be found in Schaminée et al (2014, 2016). The revision also takes into account work by the European Commission funded project to produce a red list of European habitats. A summary report on the methodology (using the forest section as example) is available: ‘Linking in situ vegetation data to the EUNIS habitat classification: results for forest habitats’. 

As a heathland, scrub and/or tundra habitat expert, you now are invited to participate in this online consultation.

The revised classification is given in a table attached below. It is a spreadsheet showing changes from the old classifications, together with descriptions and species composition is also available. The revision only concerns levels 1 to 3, if accepted, units at levels 4, 5 and 6 will be recoded as necessary.

The proposed revision is being consulted with the European Heathland Network and the Bern Convention, among others. NRC biodiversity data and information and the NRC biodiversity and ecosystems, indicators, and assessment networks are also invited. Should a colleague be better placed to respond to the consultation, you are welcome to forward this email.

We will only be able to process comments provided online, please restrict your comments to levels 2 to 3. No codes have been given to the proposed classes at this point, these will be added later.

If you have any questions regarding the consultation please do not hesitate to get in contact with Mette Lund ( and Doug Evans ( copying Annemarie Bastrup-Birk (

Please be aware that in parallel a consultation on the revision of the EUNIS forest and woodland habitats is running. Your comments are welcome if this section of the EUNIS habitat classification has your interest.

Files attached to this consultation
Section Comments
Coastal dunes and sandy shores 4
Tundra 0
Arctic, alpine and subalpine scrub 3
Temperate and mediterranean-montane scrub 1
Temperate shrub heathland 2
Maquis, arborescent matorral and thermo-Mediterranean brushes 2
Garrigue 2
Spiny Mediterranean heaths (phrygana, hedgehog-heaths and related coastal cliff vegetation) 1
Thermo-Atlantic xerophytic scrub 0
Riverine and fen scrubs 1
Hedgerows 0
Shrub plantations 2