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Shrubland, scrubland, scrub, brush, or bush is a
plant community A plant community is a collection or Association (ecology), association of plant species within a designated geographical unit, which forms a relatively uniform patch, distinguishable from neighboring patches of different vegetation types. The compo ...
characterized by
vegetation Vegetation is an assemblage of plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular re ...

vegetation
dominated by
shrub A shrub (often called a bush) is a small- to medium-sized perennial A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Plantae. Historically, the p ...

shrub
s, often also including
grass Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain ...

grass
es,
herb In general use, herbs are a widely distributed and widespread group of plants, excluding vegetables Vegetables are parts of plants that are consumed by humans or other animals as food. The original meaning is still commonly used and is app ...
s, and
geophyte A storage organ is a part of a plant Plants are mainly multicellular organisms, predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical ene ...
s. Shrubland may either occur naturally or be the result of human activity. It may be the mature
vegetation type Vegetation classification is the process of classifying and mapping the vegetation over an area of the earth's surface. Vegetation classification is often performed by state based agencies as part of land use, resource and environmental management. ...
in a particular region and remain stable over time, or a transitional community that occurs temporarily as the result of a disturbance, such as fire. A stable state may be maintained by regular natural disturbance such as fire or
browsing Browsing is a kind of orienting strategy. It is supposed to identify something of relevance for the browsing organism. When used about human beings it is a metaphor A metaphor is a figure of speech that, for rhetorical effect, directly refers ...
. Shrubland may be unsuitable for human habitation because of the danger of fire. The term was coined in 1903. Shrubland species generally show a wide range of
adaptations In biology, adaptation has three related meanings. Firstly, it is the dynamic evolutionary process that fits organisms to their environment, enhancing their Fitness (biology), evolutionary fitness. Secondly, it is a state reached by the popula ...
to fire, such as heavy seed production, lignotubers, and fire-induced germination.


Botanical structural form

In
botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Ancient Greek wo ...

botany
and
ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers organisms In biol ...
a shrub is defined as a much-branched
woody plant A woody plant is a plant that produces wood as its structural tissue and thus has a hard stem. In cold climates, woody plants further survive winter or dry season above ground, as opposite to Herbaceous plant, herbaceous plants that die back to t ...
less than 8 m high and usually with many
stems
stems
. Tall shrubs are mostly 2–8 m high, small shrubs 1–2 m high and
subshrub A subshrub (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it ...

subshrub
s less than 1 m high. A descriptive system widely adopted in
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
to describe different types of vegetation is based on structural characteristics based on
plant life-formPlant life-form schemes constitute a way of classifying plants alternatively to the ordinary species-genus-family scientific classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including thei ...
, plus the height and foliage cover of the tallest stratum or
dominant Domination or dominant may refer to: Society * World domination, which is mainly a conspiracy theory * Colonialism in which one group (usually a nation) invades another region for material gain or to eliminate competition * Chauvinism in which a p ...
species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individu ...

species
. For shrubs 2–8 m high the following structural forms result: * dense foliage cover (70–100%) — closed-scrub * mid-dense foliage cover (30–70%) — open-scrub * very sparse foliage cover (<10%) — tall open shrubland For shrubs <2 m high the following structural forms result: * dense foliage cover (70–100%) — closed-
heath A heath () is a shrubland Shrubland, scrubland, scrub, brush, or bush is a plant community characterized by vegetation dominance (ecology), dominated by shrubs, often also including grasses, Herbaceous plant, herbs, and geophytes. Shrubland m ...
* mid-dense foliage cover (30–70%) — open-heath * sparse foliage cover (10–30%) — low shrubland * very sparse foliage cover (<10%) — low open shrubland


Biome plant group

Similarly, shrubland is a category used to describe a type of
biome A biome is a collection of plants Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respi ...
plant group. In this context, shrublands are dense thickets of evergreen
sclerophyll Sclerophyll is a type of vegetation that has hard leaves A leaf (plural leaves) is the principal lateral appendage of the vascular plant Vascular plants (from Latin ''vasculum'': duct), also known as Tracheophyta (the tracheophytes , ...
shrubs and small trees, called: *
Chaparral Chaparral ( ) is a shrubland Shrubland, scrubland, scrub, brush, or bush is a plant community characterized by vegetation dominance (ecology), dominated by shrubs, often also including grasses, Herbaceous plant, herbs, and geophytes. Shrublan ...

Chaparral
in
California California is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

California
*
Matorral image:Matorral Octubre.JPG, 300px, Springtime in Chilean matorral a few kilometers north of Santiago along the Pan-American Highway Matorral is a Spanish language, Spanish word, along with ''tomillares'', for shrubland, thicket or bushes. It is us ...
in
Chile Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in the western part of South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively small portion in the . It can also be described as the southern ...

Chile
,
Mexico Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organi ...

Mexico
, and
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
* Maquis in
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
and elsewhere around the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...

Mediterranean
*
Macchia
Macchia
in
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

Italy
*
Fynbos Fynbos (; meaning fine plants) is a small belt of natural shrubland or Heath (habitat), heathland vegetation located in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa. This area is predominantly coastal and mountainous, with a M ...

Fynbos
in
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital citie ...

South Africa
*
Cumberland Plain Woodland The Cumberland Plain Woodland is one of six main indigenous woodland communities of Sydney Sydney ( ; Dharug language, Dharug: ) is the List of Australian capital cities, capital city of the state of New South Wales, and the List of cities ...
in
Sydney Sydney ( ; Dharug The Darug or Dharug people are an Aboriginal Australian people, who share strong ties of kinship and, in Colonial Australia, pre-colonial times, survived as skilled hunters in family groups or clans, scattered througho ...

Sydney
,
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
*
Kwongan Kwongan is plant community found in south-western Western Australia Western Australia (abbreviated as WA) is a States and territories of Australia, state occupying the western percent of the land area of Australia excluding external territori ...
in Southwest
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
* Cedar scrub in
Texas Hill Country The Texas Hill Country is a geographic region of Central and South Texas, forming the southeast part of the Edwards Plateau. Given its location, climate, terrain, and vegetation, the Hill Country can be considered the border between the Amer ...

Texas Hill Country
In some places shrubland is the mature vegetation type, and in other places the result of degradation of former
forest A forest is an area of land dominated by tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a ...

forest
or
woodland A woodland () is, in the broad sense, land covered with trees, or in a narrow sense, synonymous with wood (or in the U.S., the ''plurale tantum A ''plurale tantum'' (Latin for "plural only"; ) is a noun that appears only in the plural The plu ...

woodland
by
logging Logging is the process of cutting, processing, and moving trees to a location for transport. It may include skidder, skidding, on-site processing, and loading of trees or trunk (botany), logs onto logging truck, trucks or flatcar#Skeleton car, s ...

logging
or
overgrazing Overgrazing occurs when plants are exposed to intensive grazing In agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentism, sedentary hum ...

overgrazing
, or disturbance by major fires. A number of
World Wildlife Fund In its most general sense, the term "world" refers to the totality of entities, to the whole of reality or to everything that is. The nature of the world has been conceptualized differently in different fields. Some conceptions see the worl ...
biomes are characterized as shrublands, including: ;Desert scrublands ''Xeric'' or ''desert scrublands'' occur in the world's
deserts and xeric shrublands Deserts and xeric shrublands are a biome defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature. Deserts and xeric (ancient Greek xērós, “dry") shrublands form the largest terrestrial biome, covering 19% of Earth's land surface area. Ecoregions in this ha ...
ecoregions, or in areas of fast-draining sandy soils in more humid regions. These scrublands are characterized by plants with adaptations to the dry climate, which include small leaves to limit water loss, thorns to protect them from grazing animals, succulent leaves or stems,
storage organ A storage organ is a part of a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respi ...
s to store water, and long taproots to reach groundwater. ;Mediterranean scrublands ''Mediterranean scrublands'' occur naturally in the
Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub is a biome defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature. The biome is generally characterized by dry summers and rainy winters, although in some areas rainfall may be uniform. Summers are typically hot in ...
biome A biome is a collection of plants Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respi ...
s, located in the five
Mediterranean climate A Mediterranean climate or dry summer climate is characterized by dry summers and mild, wet winters. The climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the degre ...
regions of the world. Scrublands are most common near the seacoast, and have often adapted to the wind and salt air of the ocean. Low, soft-leaved scrublands around the
Mediterranean Basin In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin (also known as the Mediterranean region or sometimes Mediterranea) is the region of lands around the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ...
are known as ''
garrigue . Garrigue or phrygana (n.pl., Greek Φρύγανα) is a type of low, scrubland ecoregion and plant community in the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome. It is found on limestone Limestone is a common type of carbonate r ...
'' in
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
, ''phrygana'' in
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
, ''tomillares'' in
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
, and ''batha'' in
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
.
Northern coastal scrub Northern coastal scrub is a scrubland Shrubland, scrubland, scrub, brush, or bush is a plant community characterized by vegetation dominance (ecology), dominated by shrubs, often also including grasses, Herbaceous plant, herbs, and geophytes. Shr ...
and
coastal sage scrub Coastal sage scrub, also known as coastal scrub, CSS, or soft chaparral, is a low scrubland Shrubland, scrubland, scrub, brush, or bush is a plant community A plant community is a collection or Association (ecology), association of plant spec ...
occur along the
California California is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

California
coast, strandveld in the
Western Cape The Western Cape ( af, Wes-Kaap; xh, iNtshona-Koloni) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnation ...
of
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital citie ...

South Africa
, coastal matorral in
central Chile Central Chile (''Zona central'') is one of the five natural regions into which CORFO divided continental Chile in 1950. It is home to a majority of the Chile Chile (, ; ), officially the Republic of Chile (), is a country in western Sou ...
, and sand-heath and
kwongan Kwongan is plant community found in south-western Western Australia Western Australia (abbreviated as WA) is a States and territories of Australia, state occupying the western percent of the land area of Australia excluding external territori ...
in
Southwest Australia Southwest Australia is a ecoregion, biogeographic region in Western Australia. It includes the Mediterranean climate, Mediterranean-climate area of southwestern Australia, which is home to a diverse and distinctive flora and fauna. The region is ...
. ;Interior scrublands ''Interior scrublands'' occur naturally in semi-arid areas where soils are nutrient-poor, such as on the matas of
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...

Portugal
which are underlain by
Cambrian The Cambrian Period ( ; sometimes symbolized Ꞓ) was the first geological period A geological period is one of the several subdivisions of geologic time enabling cross-referencing of rocks and geologic events from place to place. These peri ...
and
Silurian The Silurian ( ) is a geologic period and system spanning 24.6 million years from the end of the Ordovician The Ordovician ( ) is a geologic period A geological period is one of the several subdivisions of geologic time enabling cross-refere ...
schists Schist ( ) is a medium-grained metamorphic rock , a type of metamorphic rock Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock (geology), rock to new types of rock, in a process called metamorphism upright=1.35, Schematic r ...
.
Florida scrub Florida sand pine scrub is an endangered subtropical forest ecoregion found throughout Florida in the United States. It is found on coastal and inland sand ridges and is characterized by an evergreen Xerophyte, xeromorphic plant community dominated ...
is another example of interior scrublands. ;Dwarf shrubs Some vegetation types are formed of '' dwarf-shrubs'': low-growing or creeping shrubs. These include the maquis and
garrigue . Garrigue or phrygana (n.pl., Greek Φρύγανα) is a type of low, scrubland ecoregion and plant community in the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome. It is found on limestone Limestone is a common type of carbonate r ...
s of Mediterranean climates, and the acid-loving dwarf shrubs of
heathland A heath () is a shrubland Shrubland, scrubland, scrub, brush, or bush is a plant community A plant community is a collection or Association (ecology), association of plant species within a designated geographical unit, which forms a relativ ...
and
moorland Moorland or moor is a type of habitat In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physi ...
.


See also

*
Fynbos Fynbos (; meaning fine plants) is a small belt of natural shrubland or Heath (habitat), heathland vegetation located in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa. This area is predominantly coastal and mountainous, with a M ...

Fynbos
* Maquis *
Prostrate shrub A prostrate shrub is a woody plant A woody plant is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy t ...
*
Semi-desert A semi-arid climate, semi-desert climate, or steppe climate is the climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the degree to which it is hot or cold, wet or dry, c ...
* Shrub-steppe *
Shrub swamp Shrub swamps — also called scrub swamps or buttonbush swamps — are a type of freshwater Fresh water or freshwater is any naturally occurring liquid or frozen water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, o ...

Shrub swamp
*
Moorland Moorland or moor is a type of habitat In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physi ...


Notes and references

{{Vegetation