Habitats Classification Scheme (Version 3.1)

The habitat types listed below are standard terms used to describe the major habitat/s in which taxa occur. If recorded, these habitats are listed on the Fact Sheet page for each taxon under the Classification Schemes and Full Account tabs.

The three levels of the hierarchy are self-explanatory, as they use familiar habitat terms that take into account biogeography, latitudinal zonation and depth in marine systems. The inland aquatic habitats are based primarily on the classification system of wetland types used by the Ramsar Convention (see Ramsar Wetland Type Classification System). It is acknowledged that the classification scheme used here is not entirely satisfactory and a review of the scheme is needed. The attached draft working document provides a list of the habitat types with definitions, examples of alternative habitat terms especially those used in different parts of the world, and guidance notes on using the system.

  • 1 Forest
    • 1.1 Boreal Forest
    • 1.2 Subarctic Forest
    • 1.3 Subantarctic Forest
    • 1.4 Temperate Forest
    • 1.5 Subtropical/Tropical Dry Forest
    • 1.6 Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland Forest
    • 1.7 Subtropical/Tropical Mangrove Forest Vegetation Above High Tide Level
    • 1.8 Subtropical/Tropical Swamp Forest
    • 1.9 Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane Forest
  •  
  • 2 Savanna
    • 2.1 Dry Savanna
    • 2.2 Moist Savana
  •  
  • 3 Shrubland
    • 3.1 Subarctic Shrubland
    • 3.2 Subantarctic Shrubland
    • 3.3 Boreal Shrubland
    • 3.4 Temperate Shrubland
    • 3.5 Subtropical/Tropical Dry Shrubland
    • 3.6 Subtropical/Tropical Moist Shrubland
    • 3.7 Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude Shrubland
    • 3.8 Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation
  •  
  • 4 Grassland
    • 4.1 Tundra
    • 4.2 Subarctic Grassland
    • 4.3 Subantarctic Grassland
    • 4.4 Temperate Grassland
    • 4.5 Subtropical/Tropical Dry Lowland Grassland
    • 4.6 Subtropical/Tropical Seasonally Wet/Flooded Lowland Grassland
    • 4.7 Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude Grassland
  •  
  • 5 Wetlands (inland)
    • 5.1 Permanent Rivers, Streams, Creeks [includes waterfalls]
    • 5.2 Seasonal/Intermittent/Irregular Rivers, Streams, Creeks
    • 5.3 Shrub Dominated Wetlands
    • 5.4 Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands [generally over 8 ha]
    • 5.5 Permanent Freshwater Lakes [over 8 ha]
    • 5.6 Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Lakes [over 8 ha]
    • 5.7 Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools [under 8 ha]
    • 5.8 Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Marshes/Pools [under 8 ha]
    • 5.9 Freshwater Springs and Oases
    • 5.10 Tundra Wetlands [includes pools and temporary waters from snowmelt]
    • 5.11 Alpine Wetlands [includes temporary waters from snowmelt]
    • 5.12 Geothermal Wetlands
    • 5.13 Permanent Inland Deltas
    • 5.14 Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Lakes
    • 5.15 Seasonal/Intermittent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Lakes and Flats
    • 5.16 Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Marshes/Pools
    • 5.17 Seasonal/Intermittent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Marshes/Pools
    • 5.18 Karst and Other Subterranean Inland Aquatic Systems
  •  
  • 6 Rocky Areas [e.g. inland cliffs, mountain peaks]
  •  
  • 7 Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic)
    • 7.1 Caves
    • 7.2 Other Subterranean Habitats
  •  
  • 8 Desert
    • 8.1 Hot
    • 8.2 Temperate
    • 8.3 Cold
  •  
  • 9 Marine Neritic (Submergent Nearshore Continental Shelf or Oceanic Island)
    • 9.1 Pelagic
    • 9.2 Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs
    • 9.3 Subtidal Loose Rock/Pebble/Gravel
    • 9.4 Subtidal Sandy
    • 9.5 Subtidal Sandy-Mud
    • 9.6 Subtidal Muddy
    • 9.7 Macroalgal/Kelp
    • 9.8 Coral Reef
      • 9.8.1 Outer Reef Channel
      • 9.8.2 Back Slope
      • 9.8.3 Foreslope (Outer Reef Slope)
      • 9.8.4 Lagoon
      • 9.8.5 Inter-Reef Soft Substrate
      • 9.8.6 Inter-Reef Rubble Substrate
    • 9.9 Seagrass (Submerged)
    • 9.10 Estuaries
  •  
  • 10 Marine Oceanic
    • 10.1 Epipelagic (0–200 m)
    • 10.2 Mesopelagic (200–1,000 m)
    • 10.3 Bathypelagic (1,000–4,000 m)
    • 10.4 Abyssopelagic (4,000–6,000 m)
  •  
  • 11 Marine Deep Ocean Floor (Benthic and Demersal)
    • 11.1 Continental Slope/Bathyl Zone (200–4,000 m)
      • 11.1.1 Hard Substrate
      • 11.1.2 Soft Substrate
    • 11.2 Abyssal Plain (4,000–6,000 m)
    • 11.3 Abyssal Mountain/Hills (4,000–6,000 m)
    • 11.4 Hadal/Deep Sea Trench (>6,000 m)
    • 11.5 Seamount
    • 11.6 Deep Sea Vents (Rifts/Seeps)
  •  
  • 12 Marine Intertidal
    • 12.1 Rocky Shoreline
    • 12.2 Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, etc.
    • 12.3 Shingle and/or Pebble Shoreline and/or Beaches
    • 12.4 Mud Shoreline and Intertidal Mud Flats
    • 12.5 Salt Marshes (Emergent Grasses)
    • 12.6 Tidepools
    • 12.7 Mangrove Submerged Roots
  •  
  • 13 Marine Coastal/Supratidal
    • 13.1 Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands
    • 13.2 Coastal Caves/Karst
    • 13.3 Coastal Sand Dunes
    • 13.4 Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes
    • 13.5 Coastal Freshwater Lakes
  •  
  • 14 Artificial - Terrestrial
    • 14.1 Arable Land
    • 14.2 Pastureland
    • 14.3 Plantations
    • 14.4 Rural Gardens
    • 14.5 Urban Areas
    • 14.6 Subtropical/Tropical Heavily Degraded Former Forest
  •  
  • 15 Artificial - Aquatic
    • 15.1 Water Storage Areas [over 8 ha]
    • 15.2 Ponds [below 8 ha]
    • 15.3 Aquaculture Ponds
    • 15.4 Salt Exploitation Sites
    • 15.5 Excavations (open)
    • 15.6 Wastewater Treatment Areas
    • 15.7 Irrigated Land [includes irrigation channels]
    • 15.8 Seasonally Flooded Agricultural Land
    • 15.9 Canals and Drainage Channels, Ditches
    • 15.10 Karst and Other Subterranean Hydrological Systems [human-made]
    • 15.11 Marine Anthropogenic Structures
    • 15.12 Mariculture Cages
    • 15.13 Mari/Brackish-culture Ponds
  •  
  • 16 Introduced Vegetation
  •  
  • 17 Other
  •  
  • 18 Unknown