Summary The habitat hectares approach is an explicit, quantitative method for assessing the quality of vegetation by adding scores that are assigned to 10 habitat attributes. We believe it will be more repeatable and transparent than other methods that rely on subjective judgement. However, we have four principal criticisms of the method as it is currently proposed: (i) measurement of some of the attributes may be subject to considerable error that varies among assessors; (ii) the comparison of each measure with a single benchmark does not accommodate appropriate disturbance regimes; (iii) the proposed combination of attributes leads to some apparent internal inconsistencies; and (iv) it is not clear how the method will actually be used in practice. We suggest modifications to address these concerns and improve the proposed method. Finally, we make additional suggestions about the method's potential application, including: separate reporting of the extent and quality of different vegetation types to avoid the inappropriate combination of measures of area and quality; valuing appropriate disturbance regimes in natural areas; and considering very carefully the application of compensation or mitigation measures.