This screenshot depicts an excerpt from the Natura 2000 GIS files for the Canary Islands. One of the advantages of these data compared to CORINE Biotopes, is the delineation of geographical boundaries in vector format. However at this point, only the Natura 2000 proposed Sites of Community Interest for the Macaronesian ecoregion (of which Canary is part) have been validated and therefore made accessible to EUROSION


CORINE Biotopes provides an inventory of major nature sites in Europe (here in Cornwall, UK). In this example, the location of the sites has been combined with its size, resulting in a “bubble” representation of major nature sites in Cornwall. In the long run, CORINE Biotopes will be replaced by Natura 2000 GIS files

Data description

This layer contains information on the location and characteristics of areas with a high ecological value. Because of restrictions in accessing the most updated and accurate information on areas of high ecological areas (provided by Member States in the framework of the Habitats Directive), the following approach has been adopted by EUROSION:

  • in a first stage, data on areas of high ecological value will be derived from CORINE Biotopes. The data depict the location of major nature sites in Europe (NB: only coordinates of centroids are provided, not the geographical boundaries of the sites). The characteristics of these sites in terms of size, number of species hosted by the sites, or legal status are provided as attributes of the centroids. This makes it possible cartographic representation in the forms of bubbles (see screenshots).
  • in a second stage, the above mentioned Biotopes database will be progressively replaced by the database of proposed Sites of Community Interest (pSCI) - which is being established in the framework of the Habitats Directive and Natura 2000 network – as data become public. For the time being, only pSCIs for the Macaronesian ecoregion (Canary, Azores, Madeira) are publicly available, which makes impossible any exploitation of these data for European-wide applications.

Source of data

CORINE Biotopes is a relational database made of different tables including: (i) species tables (mammals, birds, reptiles, etc.), (ii) habitats tables, (iii) natural sites tables, and (iv) look up files. Since CORINE Biotopes data are not referenced in a GIS format, geocoding operations of the whole database are being carried by EUROSION.

As for Natura 2000 GIS files, they are still in the process of validation and are therefore not accessible for EUROSION.


CORINE Biotopes is being extended under the lead of the European Environment Agencies (EEA) for accession countries. However, these data will not be available before the completion of EUROSION.

Quality Quality of CORINE Biotopes is considered as sufficient to carry out the coastal erosion assessment. However, the database itself suffers from various semantical and structural inconsistencies, which should be partly fixed by the ongoing Natura 2000 enhancement project.
Copyright and data access conditions CORINE Biotopes data (non relevant for GIS purposes) are downloadable for free from the web site of the European Environment Agency (EEA). However, the same data - geocoded to fit GIS applications - will be made publicly available through the EUROSION database, without restrictions.