Habitat Impact Assessment (upland protected areas)


Habitat Impact Assessment (upland protected areas)
Alternate title
Date ( Creation )
Date ( Publication )

Collective title
Habitat Impact Assessment
This dataset combines all available field data for upland habitat impact assessment (HIA) survey work commissioned by SNH between 2004 and 2018 using the methods described in (Macdonald et al 1998). Data collation was carried out by Edward Wilson as part of the review of deer data Project 017079 managed by Jenny Bryce of the Wildlife Management Activity Team. The aim was to bring together all the available into a corporate dataset, standardise and clean the data and make it accessible for internal and external use. It should be used as the primary source of HIA data as it supersedes (through data cleansing) the data held in spreadsheets. Data refer to small-scale field indicators for grazing and trampling impacts by ungulates - most notably deer and sheep. NB not all indicators are appropriate to a given location, and where this is the case, data are referred to as not applicable (NA), adjacent to the relevant indicator. Additional field data include quantitative and trend measures. Attribute data, including Deer Management Unit, Deer Management Group, designated sites, and - where field-based observations are missing - NVC data, have been obtained from available SNH GIS data. Feature(s) of interest data has been determined based on survey Statements of Requirements and site-level designations (NB where both Natura and SSSI designations overlap, the former is prioritised unless otherwise stated in survey objectives), NVC descriptions and SNH specialised knowledge. Some apparent localised location discrepancies (e.g., points lying outside designated boundaries) do occur occasionally with this data, owing to GPS and human error from the time of survey. The method for producing summary grazing and trampling impact classes for each point have been standardised using a median value (or an intermediate class where there are equal numbers) and hence the summary descriptions (L, ML, M, MH, H) presented in this dataset may vary from those in the original surveyors spreadsheets. Indicator attribute names are coded to state the field guide habitat, as prefix (e.g. SG, for smooth grassland indicators); followed by the type of indicator or measure assessed (i.e., ’Q’, ’I’, ’T’ for quantitative, indicator and trend measures, respectively); the number of the measure, in order; and whether the measure is associated with grazing (‘GR’), trampling (‘TR’) or dunging (‘DU’) by ungulates. The order of the specific measures are taken from MacDonald et al. (1998) small-scale indicators for grazing and tramping impacts (only); the ordering of quantitative measures, which came into being after the guide publication, are determined from SNH document ‘DRAFT HIA Indicator tables 2017 v0.1.docx’ (A2479946). Survey data split into 8 separate layers based on the contents of the field forms used for collection: Blanket bog Dwarf shrub and heath Flushes U7 - U13 Snowbeds Scrub Smooth grassland Tall herbs Wind-clipped heath Explanation of attributes can be found in the HIA_attributes spreadsheet. Additional surveys will be added at irrgeular intervals.
Keywords ( Theme )
  • biodiversity, plants, animals, deer, Wildlife Management, protected sites
GEMET - INSPIRE themes, version 1.0 ( Theme )
  • Bio-geographical regionsProtected sitesSpecies distributionHabitats and biotopesNatural risk zones
Use limitation
Archive data to monitor habitat impacts on protected sites
Other constraints
Available under an Open Government Licence
vector eng utf8
Topic category
  • Biota
  • Environment
  • Farming
Reference system identifier
EPSG / 27700 / 8.6.2

Reference system identifier
EPSG / 4258 / 8.6.2

Distribution format
  • ESRI Shapefile ( - )

  • GML ( 3.2.1 )

Point dataset(s) for all Field Guide habitats collated together from 71 separate commissioned habitat impact assessment surveys, for upland designated sites. This includes repeat surveys for many sites. More often than not, surveys were performed by certified ecological consultancies, with the assistance of SNH (or formerly the Deer Commission for Scotland staff). Some field work was performed in-house. All data was collated into 1 of 8 different datasets, depending on a given habitat, due the differing nature of the measures taken. All data was cleaned in MS Excel and, where necessary, standardised for plot identifiers (i.e., for repeat survey measurements), with all data Quality Assured. Additional attribute values were calculated using Spatial joins from SSSI, SAC, DMU, DMG and NVC survey polygons.


File identifier
15798e01-a246-468e-bacd-43f99cf6b70d metadataInXML
Hierarchy level name
Date stamp
Metadata standard name
Metadata standard version

Point of contact

Scottish Natural Heritage - SNH Data Supply
Great Glen House, Leachkin Road

Point of contact