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Habitat Map of Scotland

The 2020 Challenge for Scotland's Biodiversity external site : A strategy for the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity in Scotland, made a commitment to produce a "comprehensive map of Scotland's main habitats".

Scottish Natural Heritage, with help from our partners, is coordinating the development of the Habitat Map of Scotland, a resource that will manage and publish all the available habitat data and implement a programme to survey areas of Scotland that we need more detailed information for.

The Habitat Map of Scotland uses EUNIS external site  to classify the data.  The data is available to download from the SNH download site Natural Spaces, please see the link at the top of this page and as a Web Mapping Service. It will also be available on SEWeb external site .

Mapping Scotland's habitats and land use with EUNIS

The first phase of this work was completed in 2015 when we published a new EUNIS Land Cover of Scotland map. This data is available on the Scottish Natural Heritage data download site Natural Spaces and is available to view on SEWeb external site .

It is a composite map, the data has been reclassified from several national data sources. It is designed for use at national and regional scales and maps habitats at a broad scale across the country. We are now updating this map with more detailed habitat and land use information, giving special attention to the priority European (Annex 1) habitats. We have also mapped some major land uses so that the habitats can be viewed in context.

Mapping Coastal Habitats

In 2016 we completed work to map the soft coast Annex I habitats, specifically, sand dunes, saltmarsh and coastal shingle. This project re-classified all the original NVC survey data from the national Sand Dune Survey, Saltmarsh Survey and the Coastal Vegetated Shingle Survey. A notable output of this work was a distribution map of Machair and 11 other Annex I habitats that we can now map, analyse and use to manage and protect our coastline.

Mapping Woodland Habitats

The Forestry Commission carried out the Native Woodland Survey of Scotland (NWSS) between 2006-13. This is a huge and valuable input to the Habitat Map of Scotland and we have worked with FCS to extract data so that we can map 4 woodland Annex I habitats. We continue to use this data to map other native woodlands.


 The Standing Water Database  contains aquatic plant and other data as points. As part of the Habitat Map of Scotland we have linked this point data to loch polygons and working with habitat specialists we have used the information in the database to map 5 Annex I habitats and 10 EUNIS classes.

Site survey data

Scottish Natural Heritage and our partner organisations hold a wealth of habitat surveys for over 700 sites and areas. These surveys were conducted for many different reasons and were published in a variety of formats. The Habitat Map of Scotland has brought all this data together, reclassified it to EUNIS and used it to map Annex I habitats. Using the data in this way adds value to this information and guarantees that it can be used in the future.

Habitat Map of Scotland today - what progress has been made

Scottish Natural Heritage have recently mapped the distribution of machair, a unique habitat and special feature of Scotland's coastal environment. There is a link to the map at the top of this page.

The Habitat Map of Scotland data is available to download on the Scottish Natural Heritage downloads page.  There is a link to Natural Spaces at the top of this page.

Last updated on Monday 26th June 2017 at 12:11 PM. Click here to comment on this page