Wildlife Habitats

How Habitats are Classified

Habitat: the type of environment in which an organism or group normally lives or occurs   ("A marine habitat").

About Habitats

habitat photo

Wildlife biologists know that some wildlife may use many different habitats. These are called generalists. Others use only specific habitats and are called specialists. Wildlife habitat association models are tables that list all the different habitats a species may use in its lifetime. The only way scientists know the models are correct is through field observations.

Habitat Codes

The Habitat Codes are a series of 3 numbers. The first of the 3 numbers identifies the major habitat. There are 9 major habitats. NatureMappers are urged, at a minimum, to include these habitats in their data reporting forms.

The major habitat codes are:

  • 100 Unvegetated (beach, sand dunes, glaciers)
  • 200 Developed (residential, city, parking lots, playing fields, golf courses)
  • 300 Agriculture (commercial or hobby farms, vineyards)
  • 400 Open water (lakes, rivers, ocean)
  • 500 Wetlands (ponds, edges of streams - also called riparian, vegetated beaches)
  • 600 Non-forest (clearcuts, prairies, tundra)
  • 700 Deciduous/hardwood forest
  • 800 Deciduous/conifer forest
  • 900 Conifer forest

The second number in the Habitat Code provides more detail. For example, 200 is any kind of development, but 220 is medium development, with about 50% development and 50% vegetation.

The third number provides even more detail. The code 221 describes medium development in a residential area.

Note: These habitat codes were developed for the Washington Gap Analysis Project and continued to be used in the NatureMapping database.

List of Habitat Codes (pdf)

Examples of Habitats and Associated Species

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