German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Results from the Working Group on Rocks

Headed by Dr. Eckhard Schröder, the Bund-Länder Working Group FFH-Berichtspflichten Felsen (Reporting Obligations for Rocky Habitats Listed in the Habitats Directive) has completed its work.

Adopted conventions

Habitat classification

Habitats are classified as scree or rock habitat types even if characteristic higher plant species are missing as long as characteristic moss and lichen species are present and the habitats are sufficiently natural.
Transitional habitats (e.g. on base-rich but not calcareous substrata or superficially acidified soils on calcareous substrata) are classified on a Länder-specific basis by vegetation or substratum.
Doubtful cases that may be either habitat type 8220 or 8230 are resolved by using soil formation as an added criterion.

Reference basis

The assessment of rocky habitats involves certain parameters that are not amenable to ‘management’ (this is especially the case with caves). Specific habitats may therefore be unable by nature to score an ‘A’ on such parameters. This is appropriate because the habitats are assessed with a view to conservation/importance to vegetation or flora and fauna. There is no provision for assessment as a ‘geotope’.

Survey frequency

It was thought sufficient to survey screes and rocky habitats once per reporting period (six years). For caves, it is necessary to decide whether further surveys are needed as assessment essentially focuses on fauna. Where data on bats (including Annex IV species) can be used from another monitoring programme, one survey per reporting period should suffice for caves as well.

Assessment Matrices for Rocky Habitats

Habitat types 8120 ‘Calcareous and calcshist screes of the montane to alpine levels (Thlaspietea rotundifolii)’ and 8340 ‘Permanent glaciers’ occur solely in Bavaria and are not included.

The priority habitat type 6110 ‘Rupicolous calcareous or basophilic grasslands of the Alysso-Sedion albi’ is covered by the Bund-Länder-Arbeitskreis "Working Group on Grassland." bearbeitet.

Assessment Matrices (downloads in German only)
Siliceous scree of the montane to snow levels (Androsacetalia alpinae and Galeopsietalia ladani8110 (PDF file)
Medio-European upland siliceous screes8150 (PDF file)
Medio-European calcareous scree of hill and montane levels8160 (PDF file)
Calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation8210 (PDF file)
Siliceous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation8220 (PDF file)
Siliceous rock with pioneer vegetation of the Sedo-Scleranthion or of the Sedo albi-Veronicion dillenii8230 (PDF file)
Caves not open to the public8310 (PDF file)

The threshold and maximum parameter values for use in assessment ranking are intended as recommendations as finalising them is the responsibility of the Länder. Thresholds need to be restated in specific terms based on regional and physiographic circumstances and differences.

The three assessment criteria:

  • Habitat structures:
    Habitat structures are assessed according to the habitat type, generally using biotic and abiotic criteria. These comprise species richness, the prevalence of characteristic vegetation or the structural variety of the terrain, the presence of special sites, and dynamics (for screes).
    The assessment is arrived at by averaging the values for the subcriteria, with greater weighting given to the prevalence of characteristic vegetation.
  • Characteristic species inventory:
    The degree of completeness of the species inventory is generally assessed using the number of characteristic higher plant, moss and lichen species. For siliceous scree consisting of serpentinite (see habitat type 8150), it is necessary to ensure the presence of serpentinite spleenworts (Asplenium adulterinum, Asplenium cuneifolium and/or Asplenium x poscharskyanum). The number of characteristic animal species can also be included in the assessment as an additional criterion where studies of suitable species groups are available.
    In assessing caves (habitat type 8310), the reverse applies: inclusion of characteristic animal species such as bats and spiders is obligatory, while plant species do not need to be included.
  • Pressures:
    The pressures criterion is not assessed by averaging the subcriteria, but by taking the subcriterion that scores least and therefore shows the most severe pressure.

Last Change: 02/03/2021