Habitats repository (HabRef)

HABREF is a national repository comprising the official reference versions of the typologies of habitats or vegetation covering marine and/or continental environments of French mainland and overseas territories. National typologies, or those relating to an overseas territory, and international typologies are taken into account when they concern France.

Falaise littorale (pointe du Grouin, Ille-et-Vilaine) © V.Gaudillat & Les Antilles © F.Mazeas

The units presented in these typologies are either types of habitat, or types of vegetation.

  • Habitat: a particular environment which can be distinguished by its abiotic factors and its biological characteristics, operating on specific but dynamic spatial and temporal scales in a recognisable geographical space (according to the ideas of Yapp, 1922). Species habitats that can be defined by a set of physical and/or biological elements that constitute their living environment are included in this category.
  • Vegetation: a structured whole (in formation, grouping, etc.) of plants present on a territory, whatever its extent and site characteristics (Géhu, 2006). Vegetation is one of the components of a (vegetated) habitat.

In more detail, two major categories of "typologies" ( in the broad sense) can be distinguished:

The first is characterised by a hierarchical classification of the units, and all of the units known in the territory concerned appear in the typology. This is, for example, the case with the classification of benthic marine habitats of metropolitan France, EUNIS (European Nature Information System) habitats, or units of phytosociological classification.

The second consists of lists of habitats to be conserved in the framework of international conventions or directives. All of the habitats of the territory concerned are not, therefore, included. For convenience, the habitats listed are generally grouped by main types of environment, but these are not used as such. The Habitats Directive and the Barcelona Convention are targeted.

Rivière © J.Louvel & Carataggio (Corse-du-Sud) © V. Gaudillat

Habitats or vegetations typologies

Metropolitan France Environment
Sigmatist phytosociological typologies (PVF1) Terrestre
Sigmatist phytosociological typologies declined (PVF2) Terrestre
Bryosociological synopsis Terrestre
Phytosociological units of habitats manuals Terrestre
Benthic biocenoses of the Mediterranean Marin
Benthic marine habitats of the Atlantic Marin
Tree related microhabitats Terrestre
Saint-Pierre and Miquelon habitats Terrestre
Marine habitats of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon Marin
West Indies habitats Mixte
Ecological compartments of Guadeloupe Terrestre
Vegetation of Martinique Terrestre
Guiana habitats Mixte
Forest Habitats of Guiana Terrestre
Marine Habitats of Guiana Terrestre
Natural and semi-natural Habitats of La Réunion (2017) Terrestre
CORINE biotopes Habitats of La Reunion (2000, rev. 2010) Mixte
Habitats of Mayotte Terrestre
Marine habitats of Mayotte Mixte
Terrestrial habitats of the Scattered Islands Terrestre
Marine habitats of the Scattered Islands Mixte
Vegetation of Wallis and Futuna and New Caledonia Terrestre
Vegetation types of Clipperton Terrestre
Marine habitats of Overseas Departments Marin
Phytosociological database of vascular vegetation of the World (Baseveg, synusial phytosociology) Terrestre
European phytosociological classification Mixte
European bryosociological classification (2006) Mixte
Caribbean Vegetation Terrestre
Geomorphology of coral reefs Marin
CORINE biotopes Mixte
Palaearctic Habitats Mixte

Lists of habitats resulting from directives or conventions

Metropolitan France Environment
Habitats manuals Mixte
Habitats of Community interest Mixte
OSPAR convention Marin
Barcelone convention Marin

In the field, operators use one or the other of these typologies. In order to make best use of the data collected, it is necessary to be able to convert this data from one repository to another. Because of this, important work in mapping between typologies is carried out.