Norway is a long, slender country covered in rocks and mountains. Nevertheless, there are traces of human existence everywhere.

Nature types in Norway (NiN) is a system that is designed to handle all the variation that characterizes the Norwegian nature, both natural and man-made. In this context, natural variation is determined by environmental factors such as bedrock, climate and humidity. In addition, human activities affect habitats in Norway to different extents. There are very few places in Norway where traces of human activity aren’t found, except perhaps the deep sea. Any classification system of nature types must address these questions: when can we say that a nature type is “natural”, when does it have evidence of human impact, and when is it entirely man-made? NiN tries to clarify and systematize this.

To handle this, NiN has divided the natural environment into three main types: natural sites, semi-natural sites, and artificial sites. Natural sites are mainly affected by natural environmental factors, but may have certain traces of human culture and activities. If human influence is stronger, typically through extensive farming, an area is classed as a semi-natural site. Examples of this include coastal heaths and hay meadows. More heavily used sites, such as arable land and populated areas, are classed as artificial sites.