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The Integrated Habitat System (IHS) has undergone constant development by the Somerset Environmental Records Centre, in consultation with other organisations, during the last eight years. It has been in operational use at SERC since 1999 and in various locations around the UK since 2000.

Concepts behind IHS
• An integrated approach to habitat classifications, using GIS technology, can provide a sound basis for survey, monitoring and analysis of the habitat resource.
• Categories from different habitat classifications can be usefully brought together into an integrated system.
• Habitat data derived from remote sensing can be successfully combined with habitat data derived from field survey
• An integrated habitat system can provide useful products at the site, regional and national scales.
• Authorities should be quoted for habitat category names, linked to definitions, as in species taxonomy.
• Translation of habitat data collected using one classification can be translated into an integrated system, to give a useful product with defined limitations.

Use of IHS
IHS can be used for any or all of the following purposes:
• As a basis for field survey of habitats and/or land-use at the site, local BAP, county or regional scales
• As a reference source to check definitions of commonly used habitat categories
• As a basis for remote sensing assessment of habitats and/or land-use, especially through aerial photographs
• To translate existing habitat data held in Phase 1 or NVC formats into Biodiversity Broad Habitats or Biodiversity Priority Habitats, where possible
• To manage and analyse habitat data in GIS
• To bring together habitat data held in different formats into a single system
• As a basis for analysis and reporting on Biodiversity Broad Habitats, Biodiversity Priority Habitats and Annex 1 Habitats of the EU Habitats Directive
• To investigate the relationship between habitats, habitat management and other datasets that may be available in GIS format
• As a basis for habitat monitoring at the site, local BAP, county or regional scales

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