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%.
Utilize timber harvest to manage the trees in the overstory of the plant community.
Manage the height and density of mid-story shrubs and trees by utilizing prescribed fire, chemical, and/or mechanical treatments.
Maintain a mosaic of open sandy areas
Minimize soil disturbance due to the fragile nature of the soil and herbaceous ground cover to the extent possible.
Use FWC-OBVM/FNAI reference sites to determine future desired conditions
Retain dying, dead, and downed trees and stumps for refugia
Link to FWC's Florida Scrub-Jay SharePoint Site and Working Group Information.