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6. Manuals and guidelines

European Habitats Manual

There are currently 233 habitat types listed on Annex I of the Habitats Directive and described in the EU Interpretation Manual.

However many countries, and some regions, have published their own guides to the habitats of Annex I. These vary from translations of the EU guidance, although often with photos, to detailed descriptions of the habitats as they occur in a given country or region. In some countries guidance takes the form of a table of correspondence with a national classification of habitats, as in Romania and the United Kingdom.

The habitats are also discussed in Evans (2006), "The habitats of the European union Habitats Directive", Proc. Royal Irish Acad.-Section B, Biol. Environ. 106 (3) , pp. 167–173 and Evans, D. (2010) Interpreting the habitats of Annex I -- Past, present and future. Acta Botanica Gallica 157(4) 677- 686.

Documents in support to sufficiency evaluation

The evaluation of the sufficiency of sites designated under the Habitats Directive is done through annual assessments of national proposed Sites of Community Importance (pSCI) and SCIs at biogeographical region level in order to ensure that all annex I habitats and annex II species included in the corresponding Reference Lists are well represented and protected by the Natura 2000 network.

The criteria used for site evaluation are based on some general principles provided by the European Commission in 1997 (Hab. 97/2 rev. 4 18/11/97). Further clarification was provided by the European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity in 2002 on certain species and taxonomic groups (Habitats SWG 2002-02 rev13) and on the evaluation process itself in an updated document prepared in 2016.

Marine guidelines

In 2007, the European Commission published specific guidelines on selection of marine Natura 2000 sites. The marine biogeographical seminars shall focus on Habitats Directive Annex I habitats and Annex II species known to be present in the marine environment in certain lifecycle stages.

The site evaluation criteria used in the terrestrial biogeographical seminars (see above) are applicable in the marine environment. However, additional guidelines for assessing sufficiency of Natura 2000 proposals (SCIs) for marine habitats and species were prepared by the European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity in October 2009, as a guiding document indicating which criteria could be used in sufficiency evaluations and their relative importance in decision-making. The guidelines include five habitat types from the Habitats Directive Annex I and 16 species from Annex II, which are truly or partly ‘marine’.

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