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Habitats (Biotops)

Conservation status of marine habitats types in the German North Sea

Half of Habitats Directive habitat types in the German North Sea in bad conservation status

The European Union’s Habitats Directive protects habitat types of Community interest. The protection objective is to bring these habitat types to favourable conservation status. Of the six marine habitat types listed in Annex I of the Habitats Directive, half have bad conservation status and only intertidal mudflats and sandflats have favourable conservation status.


Six marine habitats types listed in the Habitats Directive are found in the German North Sea. According to the 2013 national Habitats Directive report covering the 2007 to 2012 reporting period, only intertidal mudflats and sandflats have favourable conservation status. Sandbanks, estuaries and reefs, accounting for half of the marine habitat types under the Habitats Directive, have bad conservation status. Large shallow inlets and bays could not be assessed because of insufficient data.

Data deficits for lagoons and reefs

The conservation status of lagoons and reefs has changed since the 2007 national Habitats Directive report (for the 2001 to 2006 reporting period). This does not represent any real improvement or deterioration, however, but is the result of poorer or lacking data in the case of lagoons and methodological causes in the case of reefs. For lagoons in particular, greater effort is needed to close knowledge gaps. Sandbanks, which are recorded as having bad conservation status, were assessed for the first time in the 2013 national Habitats Directive report.

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