Dataset Open Access

A global map of terrestrial habitat types

Martin Jung; Prabhat Raj Dahal; Stuart H. M. Butchart; Paul F. Donald; Xavier De Lamo; Myroslava Lesiv; Valerie Kapos; Carlo Rondinini; Piero Visconti

We provide a global spatially explicit characterization of 47 (version 001) terrestrial habitat types, as defined in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) habitat classification scheme, which is widely used in ecological analyses, including for assessing species’ Area of Habitat. We produced this novel habitat map by creating a global decision tree that intersects the best currently available global data on land cover, climate and land use. The maps broaden our understanding of habitats globally, assist in constructing area of habitat (AOH) refinements and are relevant for broad-scale ecological studies and future IUCN Red List assessments. We hope that these data and outlined framework will spur further development of biodiversity-relevant habitat maps at global scales. An interactive interface helping to navigate the map can be found at on the Naturemap website (

Provided is the code to recreate the map (to made available soon), the global composite image at native -100m Copernicus resolution for level 1 and level 2 and layers of aggregated fractional cover (unit: [0-1] * 1000) at 1km for level 1 and level 2.

Starting with version 004 there changemasks for the years 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 are supplied. Changemasks for the composite masks show the changed grid cells and their new values with earlier years being nested in later years, e.g. using the changemask for 2019 includes all changes up to 2019. For the fractional cover estimates at ~1km resolution, new fractional cover changemasks are supplied as subtraction (before - after) between the previous and current year (unit range: [-1 to 1] * 1000).

We highlight that only changes in land cover are considered since most of the ancillary layers (e.g. pasture, forest management, climate, etc...) are static and thus not all changes in habitats can be found. We therefore recommend end users to continue using the 2015 dataset unless specific habitat updates to habitat are needed.


Please cite the published paper and state the used version of the habitat map

Jung, M., Dahal, P.R., Butchart, S.H.M., Donald, P.F., De Lamo, X., Lesiv, M., Kapos, V., Rondinini, C., Visconti, P., (2020). A global map of terrestrial habitat types. Sci. Data 7, 256.

The GEE code to recreate the map will be made available upon publication at ( and will be directly included in future uploads of the map. Asset data used in GEE are directly available from the original sources (see methods) and should be publicly available (although not guaranteed to be hosted by the lead author) for custom GEE scripts. Users are advised to check the data repository for newer versions of both code and map, as we consider this product a "living map" that can be improved in the future pending better data availability. Another variant of the habitat map, showing potential habitats at level 1 of the IUCN legend, can be found here (, using data on the potential distribution of land cover ( ) and biomes ( We would like to thank the NatureMap project ( for providing funding and Google for open access to the computational infrastructure that enabled the production of this map. This project has benefited from funding through the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 766417.
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