In the case of an area, assessing conservation status means making an assessment of the status of ecological processes and of the viability of species populations in an ecoregion. The status categories generally used are "extinct", "critical", "endangered", "vulnerable", "relatively stable" and "relative intact". A final conservation status would take into account not only the current situation but also an analysis of threats to the ecoregion over the next 20 or so years.
[Critical conservation status] indicates there is a low probability of persistence of remaining intact habitat.
[Endangered conservation status] means there is a medium to low probability of persistence of the remaining intact habitat.
By 1990 a database describing some 6000 sites of Community importance for nature conservation had been created. Each site is described on the basis of standard attributes: name, location, area, altitude, habitat type, habitat cover, designation, the reason for inclusion, the presence of human activities, the presence of important species, the species numbers and a site description. However, the information is not complete for all biotopes. Compilation of data on the areas has suffered from the fact, in the absence of a European overview, it was difficult for member states to interpret the notion of "the 100 most important sites in the EU". Furthermore, since all EU member states have been involved since 1992 in implementing the Habitats Directive, far more precise inventories of sites have been undertaken in this framework and incorporated into the Natura 2000 database. Updating the CORINE-Biotopes database in these countries is therefore no longer a priority. However, for the PHARE countries, CORINE-Biotopes provides sound information for inventories preliminary to the [Emerald Network] process.