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Handbook for Phase 1 habitat survey – a technique for environmental audit (2010) 2016


The Phase 1 Handbook presents a standardised system for classifying and mapping wildlife habitats in all parts of Great Britain, including urban areas. The Phase 1 habitat classification and associated field survey technique provides a relatively rapid system to record semi-natural vegetation and other wildlife habitats. Each habitat type/feature is defined by way of a brief description and is allocated a specific name, an alpha-numeric code, and unique mapping colour. The system has been widely used and continues to act as the standard ‘Phase 1’ technique for habitat survey across the UK.

The following documents accompany the Handbook:

  • A spreadsheet, containing details of the Phase 1 habitat names and codes
  • A zipfile, containing an ArcGIS version of the Phase 1 colour mapping palette, which can be extracted and applied to ArcGIS shapefiles using ArcGIS version 8 or later. The zipfile includes: (i) a README.doc file explaining how to extract and install the palette; (ii) the Phase 1 ArcGIS palette 'style file'; (iii) a PDF legend showing the whole palette on a single page; (iv) an Excel spreadsheet containing the RGB (Red-Green-Blue) values for each colour used in the palette (this should allow users to create the same palette in other software).

Please Note: The most recent version (2016) of the Phase 1 Handbook incorporates the content of the Phase 1 Field Manual, which was originally published separately. Both were published first in 1990 by the Nature Conservancy Council (NCC): later versions, with limited additions, were produced by JNCC. The final reprint of the Handbook was in 2010, with minor corrections addressed in 2016.

Resource type Publication

Topic category Environment

Reference date 2016··

JNCC, (2010), Handbook for Phase 1 habitat survey – a technique for environmental audit, JNCC, Peterborough, ISBN 0 86139 636 7.

First published 1990; reprinted in 1993; reprinted in 2003 with limited revisions & additions; reprinted in 2004; reprinted in 2007 with minor additions; reprinted in 2010, with minor corrections addressed in 2016.

Responsible organisation
Communications, JNCC publisher

Limitations on public access No limitations

Use constraints Available under the Open Government Licence 3.0

Metadata date 2019·11·07

Metadata point of contact
Communications, JNCC

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