Indicator Specification

Habitats of European interest

Indicator Specification
  Indicator codes: SEBI 005 , CSI 057
Published 21 May 2010 Last modified 06 Nov 2020
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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).

Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)
  • No published assessments


Justification for indicator selection


  • Policy relevance: the indicator is directly indicating the implementation and success of the Habitats Directive.
  • Results are representative for the EU Member States and can be aggregated to the EU-level. The indicator is directly comparable at national and regional (EU) scale.
  • The data will be regularly collected by Member States (Article 17 Reporting Obligation).
  • Hardly any extra costs will be involved. The resources necessary for data collection are significant but have to be spent under the obligations of Article 11 Habitats Directive.

Scientific references

  • No rationale references available

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

Key policy question

What is the conservation status of habitats of Community interest?



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.


Data specifications

EEA data references

Data sources in latest figures



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.

Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Long term work

Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.

Work description

SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT Most options to improve the indicator - for the EU countries - would probably either require amendments to the Habitats Directive (e.g. reporting cycle) or postulate a further enlargement of the EU (e.g. geographical coverage). Major improvements therefore do not seem probable in the short term. However, in order to improve the options for the interpretation of the data submitted by the Member States on the EU-scale, further guidance on monitoring, data collection and assessment is highly desirable.

Resource needs

No resource needs have been specified


Not started


2099/01/01 00:00:00 GMT+1

Work description

COSTS RELATED TO DEVELOPING, PRODUCING AND UPDATING THE INDICATOR (as available) Once data are available, the cost of production of the indicator is relatively limited.

Resource needs

No resource needs have been specified


Not started


2099/01/01 00:00:00 GMT+1

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Katarzyna Biala


European Environment Agency (EEA)


Indicator code
SEBI 005
CSI 057
Version id: 1

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled every 6 years


DPSIR: State
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)


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