Scrub Habitats

Scrub habitats include community types such as scrub, scrubby flatwoods, rosemary scrub, coastal strand, and xeric oak scrub. Largely restricted to Florida, the community known as Scrub is named for its appearance rather than a dominant type of plant. Scrub can be found on areas of deep, well-drained, infertile sandy soils. Fire is the primary form of disturbance in the scrub community. The largest and most important patches of scrub occur along the central ridge of the peninsula near Ocala and in Polk and Highland counties. The Big Scrub complex lies in and around the Ocala National Forest. The southern end of the Lake Wales Ridge in Polk and Highlands counties supported a large expanse of scrub that occurred in a mosaic with xeric high pine. The USFWS Multi-species recovery plan for South Florida includes characteristics and specific habitat management objectives for Florida scrub.

Example Habitat Management Objectives: 

Scrub: Maximum canopy cover of ≤ 20%, tree presence > 15’: Yes/No; average maximum shrub height of 3-6 ft; maximum bare ground cover of 10-30%; weedy and exotic element cover of <1%.

Scrubby Flatwoods: Basal area: 10-70 ft2/acre; average maximum shrub height of ≤ 6 feet, shrub cover of 25-75%; average maximum palmetto height of ≤ 4 feet, maximum palmetto cover of 25-75%; wiry graminoid cover of 10-50%, herbaceous cover of 5-50%; weedy and exotic element cover of <1%.

General Habitat Management Techniques

Species potential by Community Type

Suggested Reading

Scrub Management Guidelines

Effects of mechanical and fire on Florida scrub

Scrub management for threatened and endangered species

Florida Scrub Working Groups Map

Link to FWC's Florida Scrub-Jay SharePoint Site and Working Group Information.