In the EBONE project the recognition of Annex I habitats in the field has been considered as an important issue. A hierarchical structure is created in this report within which the Annex I habitats can be identified. The current concept of an expert system emerged during an ECOLAND forum meeting in Almeria south-eastern Spain and further developed in close consultation with the European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity (ETC-BD).
The concept uses the General Habitat Categories as described in the EBONE Field Handbook. The rule based system for Annex I habitats will promote consistent identification between Member States. A direct key is not possible because of the way the habitats have been produced over the years as well as the need for application of expert judgement. The system has been tested in the field in Spain, Portugal and Italy.