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Broad range of habitats in the Amazon ecosystem
Proposal status: Abandoned (inactive)
Proposed by: Hawkeyes
Tagging: habitat=*
Applies to: The habitat tag is the primary tag to refer to all types of habitat
Definition: Area of distinctive ecological value

Draft started: 10 Jan 2011


This proposal is for a whole set of tags that are required to describe habitat maps. Until now there are few possibilities to map habitats. Mappers have a mix of landuse and natural use tags. These existing tags are adequate for basic 'habitat' features but do not allow the finer detail required for more advanced habitat mapping. Habitats are mapped on a regular basis for nature conservation and environment impact assessments. Allowing this data to be added to a 'OpenHabitatMap' will encourage this information to be shared and open to interested parties.

There several differing standards for habitat mapping. This proposal will focus on the UK standard for habitat mapping called 'Phase One Habitat' survey, developed by the JNCC [1]. However, the habitat tag will be open ended and allow any definition of habitat to be added as is deemed appropriate.

Although this habitat tag appears complex and has a string of categories, it is well known and used regularly in the ecology community.

Description of tag

In order to develop the tagging concept the following table lists a number of 'phase one' habitats and initial thoughts about how they can be tagged.

Phase One Habitat Survey Category Ref p1hs Name Current likely OSM Tagging Extended tagging for ecology Icon
Woodland A1.1.1 Broad-leaved Semi-natural Woodland natural=wood and/or landuse=forest Broadleaf semi-natural.svg

Outline of suggested approach

It is suggested that the core tag habitat=* only be used with terms which should be clear to all contributors. Using the Phase One Habitat survey classification [2] would look like this: habitat:p1hs=woodland:broad-leaved:semi-natural. I see a progression from using basic landuse and natural tags (anyone), then to habitat tags (some experience) and then Plant_Community tags (expert). E.g. the same area could be tagged:

  • landuse=forest,
  • natural=wood
  • wood=deciduous
  • habitat=broad-leaved_semi-natural,
  • habitat_ref:p1hs=A1.1.1
  • plant_community:nvc=W6
  • taxon=Salicion albae

However, in many cases these will be overlapping polygons where highly detailed mapping has taken place.

habitat versus taxon

Habitats designated functional ecological niches and are communities of species. Within habitats or natural areas, species or taxon=* areas or points could also be marked. For instance, areas of bluebells within a wood or points for single specimens or small groups (less than 5metres) would be marked. The taxon= tag should be used for marking plant species.

Invasive non-native species (INNS) or 'alien species' should be record using taxon=* for areas or points.

Animal species are not generally static and therefore the mapping of bird sighting etc would not be appropriate but marking nests, dreys, setts or holts etc would be acceptable. Using the habitat tag.

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