EUNIS habitat classification

Prod-ID: DAT-137-en
Created 16 Sep 2021 Published 08 Oct 2021 Last modified 08 Oct 2021
4 min read
The EUNIS habitat classification is a comprehensive pan-European system for habitat identification. The classification is hierarchical and covers all types of habitats from natural to artificial, from terrestrial to freshwater and marine. The habitat types are identified by specific codes, names and descriptions and come with cross-walks to other habitat typologies.

European data

EUNIS terrestrial habitat classification review 2021

The review of the terrestrial component of the EUNIS habitat classification was initiated in 2015. The review concerns the groups of coastal habitats, grasslands, heathland, forest, sparsely vegetated and vegetated man-made habitats. The remaining groups will be revised and published at a later stage. The classification includes cross-walks at level 3 to Habitats Directive Annex I, to European Red List of Habitats and to the Euroveg Checklist 2016 Syntaxa. The groups of forest and heathland include also crosswalks to an earlier revision of these groups published in 2017. Habitats at level 3 are complemented with lists of characteristic species identified from the EVA database.

EUNIS marine habitat classification review 2019

The review of the marine component of the EUNIS habitat classification was initiated in 2014. Marine benthic habitats, marine pelagic and marine ice associated habitats are separated into three distinct groups, each with a separate classification structure. The first major division in the benthic marine part of the EUNIS classification is based on major biological zones (related to depth) and substrate type. Level 3 reflects the main biogeographical regions of Europe’s seas based on their distinct combinations of salinity and temperature regimes (Arctic, Baltic, Atlantic, Mediterranean and Black Sea). From 16 June 2021 the classification was complemented with crosswalks to Habitats Directive Annex I and to European Red List of Habitats. Crosswalks to marine EUNIS habitats of version 2012 need to be revisited.

EUNIS habitat classification 2012 - updated 2019 as regards two habitats

The full list of EUNIS habitats 2012: codes, scientific names and revised descriptions. The habitat descriptions of the EUNIS classification 2007 were revised in 2012. The 2007 habitat types were not changed in the 2012 description revision which mostly replaced Palaearctic or UK Marine habitat classification codes used in habitat descriptions at levels 5 and below with their EUNIS classification equivalents. In 2019 the classification was further amended to include two new habitats of the revised Resolution 4 of Bern Convention as adopted at the 38th Standing Committee meeting, November 2018. The two habitats are G3.4G Pinus sylvestris forest on chalk in the steppe zone and X36 Depressions (pody) of the Steppe zone.


Documents about the EUNIS habitat classification

Reports from the projects leading to the revision of EUNIS habitat classification, including a detailed methodology, are available at Below are documents and crosswalks for the 2021 terrestrial classification, the 2019 marine classification and the 2007 (revised descriptions 2012) version of the classification.


Additional information

The EUNIS habitat revision is on-going. Revised groups version 2019 and 2021 are published in parallel to the EUNIS habitat classification 2012. A maximum of 20 characteristic species for each of the revised habitats is included in the Excel file. The full lists of characteristic species are available from the background reports.

Cross-walks between the EUNIS habitat classification version 2012 and other typologies (e.g. Habitats Directive Annex I habitat types or Corine land cover classes) are available from the Documents tab.


The EUNIS habitat classification of 2012 is also available in:

French (translation not by the EEA)

Terrestrial habitats

Marine habitats volume 1 : habitats littoraux

Marine habitats volume 2 : Habitats subtidaux et complexes d’habitats

Italian (translation not by the EEA)

Habitats according to the EUNIS nomenclature: manual of classification for the Italian reality


Habitat checklists based on the EUNIS habitat classification developed at the national level:

Official checklist for habitats present in Spain



Geographic coverage

Temporal coverage