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Bundesamt für Naturschutz

Vegetated sea cliffs of the Atlantic and Baltic coasts

Rocky sea cliffs and sedimentary coastal cliffs of the Atlantic, the North Sea and the Baltic which at least in part support higher plants. As this is a dynamic habitat the entire vertical cliff complex including a buffer strip of at least 100 metres wide above the cliff face is to be included. In the Baltic chalk cliffs and moraine cliffs can be found, in the North Sea there are mainly the sandstone cliffs at Helgoland.

Natura 2000-Code

Notes on habitat mapping

This habitat type represents a habitat complex. It may contain examples of other habitat types (e.g. dry calcareous grasslands [6210], petrifying springs with tufa formation [7220] etc.), which do not need to be recorded separately.

Sea cliffs which are completely free of vegetation are not to be considered under this type; sections that are free of vegetation in parts, and particularly steep cliff faces can be included. In delimiting this habitat type the seaward beaches (1210, 1220) re excluded and the boundary is taken to be directly at the foot of the cliff. The upper edge of the cliff face is included. In the case of active cliffs the backward erosion of the cliff face should be considered in delineating this type. Minimum height is 1 m, maximum distance of the foot of the cliff to the coastline is 100 m, the inclination in the steepest sections must be at least 30°. On account of the different levels of activity of the coastal cliff sections both actively eroding and currently inactive cliffs are considered under this type. Fossil cliffs (with no contact to the sea) are excluded. As a result of the coastal dynamics there may at times be larger sections with no vegetation.


Cliff faces and sea cliffs which are free of vegetation or corresponding sections, especially those with a southern exposure, are ecologically important for fauna (Hymenoptera, Sand martins a.o.). In CORINE the sea cliffs of the Baltic coast are not included.

Proposal for amendment: Deletion of 'vegetated', and 'near-natural, undeveloped sea cliffs' instead.

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