You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Habitats of European interest / Habitats of European interest

Habitats of European interest

Indicator Assessment Created 10 Sep 2009 Published 21 May 2010 Last modified 04 Sep 2015, 06:59 PM
Topics: ,
Indicator codes: SEBI 005

Key messages

 Conservation status(1) is quite variable across the regions. A relatively large proportion of habitats (35 %) have a favourable status in the Alpine region but the situation is much worse in the Atlantic region where more than 70 % have an unfavourable status.That means their range and quality are in decline or do not meet the specified quality criteria.
There are still significant gaps in knowledge on marine areas, except for the Baltic.

(1) The reporting format uses three classes of conservation status. 'Good' (green) indicates that the species or habitat is at Favourable Conservation Status as defined in the Directive and the habitat or species can be expected to prosper without any change to existing management or policies. Two classes of 'Unfavourable' are also recognised. 'Unfavourable-Bad' (red) signifies that a habitat or species is in serious danger of becoming extinct (at least locally) and 'Unfavourable-Inadequate' (amber) is used for situations where a change in management or policy is required but the danger of extinction is not so high. The unfavourable category has been split into two classes to allow improvements or deterioration to be reported. (Assessment, monitoring and reporting under Article 17 of the Habitats Directive: Explanatory Notes & Guidelines DRAFT 2 January 2006).

What is the conservation status of habitats of Community interest?

Conservation status by main type of habitats

Data sources: Explore chart interactively
Data sources: Explore chart interactively

Habitats of European interest — conservation status by biogeographical region

Note: How to read the map: in the Mediterranean biogeographical region, about 21 % of habitats are in favourable conservation status, but 37 % are in unfavourable (bad plus inadequate) status.

Data source:
Downloads and more info

In several biogeographical regions (Atlantic, boreal, continental and Pannonian), around 70 % of habitats listed in Annex I of the Directive have an unfavourable status. More than 70 % of the bogs, grasslands and dunes are in unfavourable status. Trend information was not available in most cases.


The map and graph for this indicator are based on Member State assessments of habitats, which are provided in Annex I of the Directive. The Member States were required to assess each habitat in each biogeographical zone in which it exists in the country. A regional assessment was calculated based on the Member State assessments. For many habitats, recovery to a favourable conservation status will take a considerable time; the next evaluation, due in 2013, will help assess the efficiency of the Directive.



Indicator specification and metadata

Indicator definition

The indicator shows changes in the conservation status of habitats of European interest.
It is based on data collected under the reporting obligations of Article 17 of the EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC).


Units used in figures: %

Policy context and targets

Context description

The indicator covers habitats which are considered to be of European interest (listed in Annex I of the Habitats Directive). This set comprises 'habitats which are in danger of disappearance in their natural range or have a small natural range following their regression or by reason of their intrinsically restricted area or present outstanding examples of typical characteristics of one or more of the biogeographical regions' (Article 1 of the Habitats Directive).

Trends in this indicator should primarily be influenced by the implementation of measures under the Habitats Directive, such as the establishment of the Natura 2000 Network and habitats and species protection measures. Therefore the indicator reflects progress achieved by the Habitats Directive, one of the main legislative pillars of EU nature conservation policy.

Relation of the indicator to the focal area

The indicator reflects the status and trends of habitats, one of the components of biological diversity. It is based on conservation status as defined in Article 1 of the habitats directive and reported by Member States under Article 17.


No targets have been specified

Related policy documents

No related policy documents have been specified


Methodology for indicator calculation

EU Member States have to monitor and report the conservation status (CS) of habitats of European interest. The conservation status is illustrated in three 'traffic light' categories ('favourable' - green, 'unfavourable inadequate' - amber, 'unfavourable bad' - red, plus unknown) characterised by four parameters:

  • trends and status of range,
  • trends and status of the area,
  • structure and function including typical species,
  • future prospects.

The indicator is based on the number of habitats in the three CS categories and on changes between categories in time.

Data manipulation should be kept to a minimum to achieve maximum transparency. Due to its simple structure (traffic-light scale, see DocHab 04-03/03 rev 3 available at the data are suitable for immediate communication. Therefore, further aggregation or the development of composite indices seems superfluous.

Methodology and representation will be tested and refined when real data will become available.

Methodology for gap filling

No methodology for gap filling has been specified. Probably this info has been added together with indicator calculation.

Methodology references

No methodology references available.


Methodology uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Data sets uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Rationale uncertainty


  • Limited trend information: the underlying data are not yet available. Data for the indicator will become available for the EU-25 territory and cover a first period of reporting from 2001-2006. Bulgaria and Romania will be included in the next report in 2013. The data will only be reported in a 6-year cycle.
  • The indicator is based on the Habitats Directive; application at the global/ pan-European level is not possible.
  • There are no EU wide standards for data collection. The robustness of the indicator could therefore be limited.


It could be further investigated if data collected on the Emerald Network (
ecological_networks/The_Emerald_Network/) can be used to expand the geographic coverage of the indicator.

Data sources

Generic metadata


Biodiversity Biodiversity (Primary topic)

habitats | biogeographical regions | biodiversity | conservation
DPSIR: State
Typology: N/A
Indicator codes
  • SEBI 005
Temporal coverage:
Geographic coverage:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Katarzyna Biala


EEA Management Plan

2010 1.2.2 (note: EEA internal system)


Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled every 6 years

Related content

Related briefings

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100