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Habitats (Biotops)

Habitat type groups and numbers of habitat types in Germany

CodeHabitat type groupsNumber Habitat types
I Marine and coastal habitat type groups
1North Sea pelagic zone2
2Noth Sea benthic zone129
3North Sea seasonal marine ice1
4Baltic Sea pelagic zone4
5Baltic Sea benthic zone141
6Baltic Sea seasonal marine ice1
7Salt marshes of the North Sea (supralittoral)11
8Salt marshes, brackish reedbeds and tall (perennial) herb vegetation of the Baltic geolittoral coastal zone9
9Sands, sand, shingle and boulder beaches16
10Coastal dunes16
11Coastal cliffs6
II Habitat type groups of inland waters
21Groundwater and cave waters6
22Springs, including the headstream (hypocrenal) zone13
23Surface running waters46
24Surface standing waters58
III Inland terrestrial and semi-terrestrial habitat type groups
31Caves (including mines, wells etc.)6
32Rocks, inland cliffs, scree slopes, boulder fields and open areas with sandy or cohesive substrates37
33Arable land and fallow land20
34Natural dry grasslands and grasslands of dry to humid sites52
35Fens and swamps free of woodland, and grasslands of moist to wet sites 23
36Raised bogs and transition mires15
37Large sedge swamps4
38Reedbeds (excluding brackish water reedbeds)8
39Riparian and forest fringe communities, and tall (perennial) herb vegetation27
40Dwarf-shrub heaths10
41Copses, thickets, scrub, hedges and cultivated woody plants48
42Woodland mantles and pioneer stages of woodlands; special forms of woodland use18
43Deciduous and mixed woodlands and forest plantations (deciduous share > 50 %)49
44Coniferous and mixed woodlands and forest plantations36
IV ‘Technical’ habitat type groups
51Small unpaved areas in human settlements8
52Transport infrastructure and town squares21
53Buildings and similar structures37
54Landfill sites and wastewater wetlands9
V Predominantly Alpine habitat types
60Waters of the subalpine to alpine zones8
61Firn, permanent snow fields and glaciers2
62Open rock of the subalpine to nival zones4
63Scree slopes and gravel banks of the subalpine to alpine zones4
64Snow accumulation areas and snowfield communities3
65Peatlands of the subalpine to alpine zones2
66Montane swards of the subalpine to alpine zones9
67Tall herbaceous communities of the high montane to alpine zones including the vegetation of livestock resting places4
68Dwarf-shrub heaths of the subalpine to alpine zones2
69Scrub communities of the subalpine to alpine zones9
70Subalpine woodlands4
Total938
Total excluding ‘technical’ habitat type groups863

Source: Finck et al. 2017; presentation modified

Data as of: 12/2016

Detailed source: Finck, P.; Heinze, S.; Riecken, U.; Raths, U.; Ssymank, A. (2017): Rote Liste der gefährdeten Biotoptypen Deutschlands. Dritte fortgeschriebene Fassung 2017. Naturschutz und Biologische Vielfalt 156. Münster.

Germany is rich in habitats

Germany has an exceptional diversity of habitats with characteristic ecological communities of animals, plants and fungi. This is a result of the country's geographical location, biogeographical circumstances and regional diversity of traditional land uses.


Despite their diversity, habitats allow themselves to be classified on the basis of their largely uniform, mutually distinguishable composition, ecological conditions and characteristic ecological communities. The classification of habitats takes into account both abiotic attributes (such as nutrient situation and wetness or dryness) and biotic attributes (such as the occurrence of specific vegetation types and structures, and fauna communities). The degree of naturalness also plays a part.

Both natural habitat types and semi-natural habitat types resulting from human land use are important for biodiversity

Natural and near-natural habitat types are found in all regions of Germany, from the North Sea and Baltic Sea marine areas and coasts to near-natural forests, peatlands, inland waters and the mountain habitats of the Alps. Numerous semi-natural habitat types resulting from human land use – such as wet grasslands, nutrient-poor dry grassland, dwarf-shrub heaths, hedges and copses – also play an important part in the conservation of biodiversity in Germany. The specific form taken by most habitat types is also shaped by the prevailing human land use (primarily farming and forestry) and adverse anthropogenic impacts (such as nutrient runoff and pollution).

Habitat types in Germany are classified into a total of 863 habitat types in a nationally uniform classification scheme (excluding 75 'technical' habitat types such as roads and buildings). These habitat types can be aggregated in turn into habitat groups.

Note: The term habitat is used here synonymously with ‘biotope’, which is the term used in the German Federal Nature Conservation Act.

More information

Red List of Threatened Habitat Types (BfN-page)

Last Change: 31/05/2017

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