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Habitat Map of Scotland

Scottish Natural Heritage, with help from its partners, is coordinating the development of the Habitat Map of Scotland (HabMoS).

The 2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity, part of the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy, made a commitment to produce a 'comprehensive map of Scotland’s main habitats'.

The Habitat Map of Scotland (HabMoS) will publish all available habitat data and manage a programme to survey those areas for which we need new information.

To classify the data, we use EUNIS, the European Nature Information System

EUNIS allows us to map habitats and land use. To find out more about EUNIS in Scotland, read our 2017 report: Manual of terrestrial EUNIS habitats in Scotland: SNH Commissioned Report No. 766

Use the dataset

Download the Habitat Map of Scotland dataset from our Natural Spaces website.

Or view the data on Map view on the Scotland’s Environment website.

Mapping Scotland’s habitats and land use

We completed the first phase of this work in 2015, when we published a new EUNIS Land Cover Scotland map on Scotland’s Environment website.

This map uses data from national surveys that has been reclassified to EUNIS. Designed for use at national and regional scales, the map plots habitats at a broad scale across the country.

We’re now updating this map with more detailed habitat and land use information, paying special attention to priority European habitats (as listed in the Habitats Directive Annex I). We’ve also mapped some major land uses so that the habitats can be viewed in context.

You can download the EUNIS Land Cover Scotland map dataset from Natural Spaces.

Mapping coastal habitats

In 2016, we completed work to map the Annex I soft coast habitats: sand dunes, saltmarsh and coastal shingle.

This project work reclassified all survey data from:

A notable output of this work was defining the distribution of machair and making available data for 11 other Annex I habitats that we can now map, analyse and use to manage and protect our coastline.

Mapping woodland habitats

Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) carried out the Native Woodland Survey of Scotland between 2006 and 2013. This is a huge and valuable input to the Habitat Map of Scotland.

We’ve already worked with FCS to extract data to enable us to map four Annex I woodland habitats. We continue to use the data to map other native woodlands.

Mapping freshwater habitats

The Standing Waters Database contains aquatic plant and other data as locations. As part of the Habitat Map of Scotland, we have linked this point data to loch polygons.

Working with habitat specialists, we have used the database information to map five Annex I habitats and 10 EUNIS classes.

Site survey data

SNH and its project partners hold a wealth of habitat survey data for more than 700 sites and areas. The surveys were conducted for various purposes and published in a range 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.

Map of machair habitat

In late 2016, SNH mapped the distribution of machair, a unique habitat and special feature of Scotland’s coastal environment.

View the Habitat Map of Scotland – Machair