IUCN Red List Habitat Classification

The IUCN Red List Habitat Classification serves as a unified framework used by both the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems. Established in 1964, the Red List of Threatened Species is the world's most comprehensive source on the extinction risk of animals, fungi, and plants, and is an essential indicator of global biodiversity health. The newer Red List of Ecosystems assesses ecosystems' conservation statuses based on factors like risk of collapse and geographical distribution changes. Both lists employ the IUCN Red List Habitat Classification for standardizing habitat descriptions and the Red List of Ecosystems also uses the IUCN Global Ecosystem Taxonomy 2.0 for further classification. These tools offer rigorous, evidence-based analyses, assisting a diverse range of stakeholders—from government agencies to NGOs—in making informed decisions for biodiversity conservation and policy action.

Habitat Classification

1 Forest

1.1. Forest Boreal

1.2. Forest Subarctic

1.3. Forest Subantarctic

1.4. Forest Temperate

1.5. Forest Subtropical/tropical dry

1.6. Forest Subtropical/tropical moist lowland

1.7. Forest Subtropical/tropical mangrove vegetation above high tide level

1.8. Forest Subtropical/tropical swamp

1.9. Forest Subtropical/tropical moist montane

2 Savanna

2.1. Savanna Dry

2.2. Savanna Moist

3 Shrubland

3.1. Shrubland Subarctic

3.2. Shrubland Subantarctic

3.3. Shrubland Boreal

3.4. Shrubland Temperate

3.5. Shrubland Subtropical/tropical dry

3.6. Shrubland Subtropical/tropical moist

3.7. Shrubland Subtropical/tropical high altitude

3.8. Shrubland Mediterranean-type shrubby vegatation

4 Grassland

4.1. Grassland Tundra

4.2. Grassland Subarctic

4.3. Grassland Subantarctic

4.4. Grassland Temperature

4.5. Grassland Subtropical/tropical dry

4.6. Grassland Subtropical/tropical seasonally wet/flooded

4.7. Grassland Subtropical/tropical high altitude

5 Wetlands (inland)

5.1. Wetlands (inland) Permanent rivers/streams/creeks (includes waterfalls)

5.2. Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/intermittent/irregular rivers/streams/creeks

5.3. Wetlands (inland) Shrub dominated wetlands

5.4. Wetlands (inland) Bogs, marshes, swamps, fens, peatlands

5.5. Wetlands (inland) Permanent freshwater lakes (over 8 ha)

5.6. Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/intermittent freshwater lakes (over 8 ha)

5.7. Wetlands (inland) Permanent freshwater marshes/pools (under 8 ha)

5.8. Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/intermittent freshwater marshes/pools (under 8 ha)

5.9. Wetlands (inland) Freshwater springs and oases

5.10. Wetlands (inland) Tundra wetlands (inc. pools and temporary waters from snowmelt)

5.11. Wetlands (inland) Alpine wetlands (inc. temporary waters from snowmelt)

5.12. Wetlands (inland) Geothermal wetlands

5.13. Wetlands (inland) Permanent inland deltas

5.14. Wetlands (inland) Permanent saline, brackish or alkaline lakes

5.15. Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/intermittent saline, brackish or alkaline lakes and flats

5.16. Wetlands (inland) Permanent saline, brackish or alkaline marshes/pools

5.17. Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/intermittent saline, brackish or alkaline marshes/pools

5.18. Wetlands (inland) Karst and other subterranean hydrological systems (inland)

6 Rocky Areas (e.g., inland cliffs, mountain peaks)

7 Caves & Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic)

7.1. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) Caves

7.2. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) Other subterranean habitats

8 Desert

8.1. Desert Hot

8.2. Desert Temperate

8.3. Desert Cold

9 Marine Neritic

9.1. Marine Neritic Pelagic

9.2. Marine Neritic Subtidal rock and rocky reefs

9.3. Marine Neritic Subtidal loose rock/pebble/gravel

9.4. Marine Neritic Subtidal sandy

9.5. Marine Neritic Subtidal sandy-mud

9.6. Marine Neritic Subtidal muddy

9.7. Marine Neritic Macroalgal/kelp

9.8. Marine Neritic Coral Reef

9.8.1 Outer reef channel

9.8.2. Back slope

9.8.3. Foreslope (outer reef slope)

9.8.4. Lagoon

9.8.5. Inter-reef soft substrate

9.8.6. Inter-reef rubble substrate

9.9. Seagrass (Submerged)

9.10. Estuaries

10 Marine Oceanic

10.1 Epipelagic (0–200 m)

10.2 Mesopelagic (200–1,000 m)

10.3 Bathypelagic (1,000–4,000 m)

10.4 Abyssopelagic (4,000–6,000 m)

11 Marine Deep Ocean Floor (Benthic and Demersal)

11.1 Continental Slope/Bathyl Zone (200–4,000 m)

11.1.1 Hard Substrate

11.1.2 Soft Substrate

11.2 Abyssal Plain (4,000–6,000 m)

11.3 Abyssal Mountain/Hills (4,000–6,000 m)

11.4 Hadal/Deep Sea Trench (\>6,000 m)

11.5 Seamount

11.6 Deep Sea Vents (Rifts/Seeps)

12 Marine Interdal

12.1 Rocky Shoreline

12.2 Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, etc.

12.3 Shingle and/or Pebble Shoreline and/or Beaches

12.4 Mud Shoreline and Intertidal Mud Flats

12.5 Salt Marshes (Emergent Grasses)

12.6 Tidepools

12.7 Mangrove Submerged Roots

13 Marine Coastal/Supratidal

13.1 Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands

13.2 Coastal Caves/Karst

13.3 Coastal Sand Dunes

13.4 Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes

13.5 Coastal Freshwater Lakes

14 Artificial - Terrestrial

14.1 Arable Land

14.2 Pastureland

14.3 Plantations

14.4 Rural Gardens

14.5 Urban Areas

14.6 Subtropical/Tropical Heavily Degraded Former Forest

15 Artificial - Aquatic

15.1 Water Storage Areas [over 8 ha](#)

15.2 Ponds [below 8 ha](#)

15.3 Aquaculture Ponds

15.4 Salt Exploitation Sites

15.5 Excavations (open)

15.6 Wastewater Treatment Areas

15.7 Irrigated Land [includes irrigation channels](#)

15.8 Seasonally Flooded Agricultural Land

15.9 Canals and Drainage Channels, Ditches

15.10 Karst and Other Subterranean Hydrological Systems [human-made](#)

15.11 Marine Anthropogenic Structures

15.12 Mariculture Cages

15.13 Mari/Brackish-culture Ponds

16 Introduced Vegetation

17 Other

18 Unknown

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