Revising the heathland, scrub & tundra section of the eunis habitats classification document for an eionet consultation Prepared by / compiled by: Douglas Evans Organisation: mnhn eea project manager: Mette Palitzsch Lund

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Document for an EIONET consultation

Prepared by / compiled by:
Douglas Evans

Organisation: MNHN

EEA project manager: Mette Palitzsch Lund

The EIONET consultation on a revision of the heathland, scrub and tundra section of the EUNIS habitats classification is open until 1 July 2016 at
This document provides the introduction to the consultation and contains an overview of the proposed new classification.
A spreadsheet giving more detail and explaining the changes is available at the consultation web page above.

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’. 
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.
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.
Proposed revised classification, no codes have been given, these will be added later.

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Coastal habitats 

Coastal dunes and sandy shores 

Atlantic and Baltic coastal Empetrum heaths

Atlantic coastal Calluna and Ulex heaths

Atlantic and Baltic coastal dune scrub

Mediterranean and Black Sea coastal dune scrub

Macaronesian coastal dune scrub

Heathland, scrub and tundra  


Shrub tundra

Moss and lichen tundra

Arctic, alpine and subalpine scrub 

Subarctic and alpine dwarf Salix scrub

Alpine and subalpine ericoid heaths

Alpine and subalpine Juniperus scrub

Alpine and subalpine genistoid scrub

Subalpine deciduous scrub

Subalpine Pinus mugo scrub

Temperate and mediterranean-montane scrub

Lowland to montane temperate and submediterranean Juniperus scrub

Temperate Rubus scrub

Lowland to montane temperate and submediterranean genistoid scrub

Balkan -Anatolian submontane genistoid scrub

Temperate and submediterranean thorn scrub

Low steppic scrub

Corylus avellana scrub

Temperate forest clearing scrub

Temperate shrub heathland 

Wet heath

Dry heath

Macaronesian heath

Maquis, arborescent matorral and thermo-Mediterranean brushes 

Mediterranean maquis and arborescent matorral

Submediterranean pseudomaquis

Spartium junceum scrub

Thermo-Mediterranean scrub


Western basophilous garrigue

Western acidic garrigue

Eastern garrigue

Supra-Mediterranean garrigue

Mediterranean gypsum scrub

Mediterranean halo-nitrophilous scrub

Caspian halo-nitrophilous scrub

Spiny Mediterranean heaths (phrygana, hedgehog-heaths and related coastal cliff vegetation) 

Western Mediterranean coastal garrigue

Eastern Mediterranean spiny heath (Phrygana)

West Mediterranean mountain hedgehog heath

Central Mediterranean mountain hedgehog heath

East Mediterranean hedgehog heath

Canarian mountain hedgehog-heath

Thermo-Atlantic xerophytic scrub 

Canary Island xerophytic scrub

Madeiran xerophytic scrub

Riverine and fen scrubs 

Arctic, boreal and alpine riparian scrub

Temperate riparian scrub

Salix fen scrub

Mediterranean riparian scrub


Hedgerows of non-native species

Highly-managed hedgerows of native species

Species-rich hedgerows of native species

Species-poor hedgerows of native species

Shrub plantations 

Shrub plantations for whole-plant harvesting

Shrub plantations for leaf or branch harvest

Shrub plantations for ornamental purposes or for fruit, other than vineyards


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