Shrubland, scrubland, scrub, brush, or bush is a plant community characterised by vegetation dominated by shrubs, often also including grasses, herbs, and geophytes. Shrubland may either occur naturally or be the result of human activity. It may be the mature vegetation type 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. Shrubland may be unsuitable for human habitation because of the danger of fire. The term was coined in 1903.
A plant community is a collection or association of plant species within a designated geographical unit, which forms a relatively uniform patch, distinguishable from neighboring patches of different vegetation types. The components of each plant community are influenced by soil type, topography, climate and human disturbance. In many cases there are several soil types within a given phytocoenosis.
Vegetation is an assemblage of plant species and the ground cover they provide. It is a general term, without specific reference to particular taxa, life forms, structure, spatial extent, or any other specific botanical or geographic characteristics. It is broader than the term flora which refers to species composition. Perhaps the closest synonym is plant community, but vegetation can, and often does, refer to a wider range of spatial scales than that term does, including scales as large as the global. Primeval redwood forests, coastal mangrove stands, sphagnum bogs, desert soil crusts, roadside weed patches, wheat fields, cultivated gardens and lawns; all are encompassed by the term vegetation.
Ecological dominance is the degree to which a taxon is more numerous than its competitors in an ecological community, or makes up more of the biomass.
Shrubland species generally show a wide range of adaptations to fire, such as heavy seed production, lignotubers, and fire-induced germination.
In botany and ecology a shrub is defined as a much-branched woody plant less than 8 m high and usually with many stems. Tall shrubs are mostly 2–8 m high, small shrubs 1–2 m high and subshrubs less than 1 m high.
Botany, also called plant science(s), 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 word βοτάνη (botanē) meaning "pasture", "grass", or "fodder"; βοτάνη is in turn derived from βόσκειν (boskein), "to feed" or "to graze". Traditionally, botany has also included the study of fungi and algae by mycologists and phycologists respectively, with the study of these three groups of organisms remaining within the sphere of interest of the International Botanical Congress. Nowadays, botanists study approximately 410,000 species of land plants of which some 391,000 species are vascular plants, and approximately 20,000 are bryophytes.
Ecology is the branch of biology which studies the interactions among organisms and their environment. Objects of study include interactions of organisms that include biotic and abiotic components of their environment. Topics of interest include the biodiversity, distribution, biomass, and populations of organisms, as well as cooperation and competition within and between species. Ecosystems are dynamically interacting systems of organisms, the communities they make up, and the non-living components of their environment. Ecosystem processes, such as primary production, pedogenesis, nutrient cycling, and niche construction, regulate the flux of energy and matter through an environment. These processes are sustained by organisms with specific life history traits. Biodiversity means the varieties of species, genes, and ecosystems, enhances certain ecosystem services.
A woody plant is a plant that produces wood as its structural tissue. Woody plants are usually either trees, shrubs, or lianas. These are usually perennial plants whose stems and larger roots are reinforced with wood produced from secondary xylem. The main stem, larger branches, and roots of these plants are usually covered by a layer of bark. Wood is a structural cellular adaptation that allows woody plants to grow from above ground stems year after year, thus making some woody plants the largest and tallest terrestrial plants.
A descriptive system widely adopted in Australia to describe different types of vegetation is based on structural characteristics based on plant life-form, plus the height and foliage cover of the tallest stratum or dominant species.
Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
In biology, the canopy is the aboveground portion of a plant community or crop, formed by the collection of individual plant crowns.
Plant life-form schemes constitute a way of classifying plants alternatively to the ordinary species-genus-family scientific classification. In colloquial speech, plants may be classified as trees, shrubs, herbs, etc. The scientific use of life-form schemes emphasizes plant function in the ecosystem and that the same function or "adaptedness" to the environment may be achieved in a number of ways, i.e. plant species that are closely related phylogenetically may have widely different life-form, for example Adoxa and Sambucus are from the same family, but the former is a small herbaceous plant and the latter is a shrub or tree. Conversely, unrelated species may share a life-form through convergent evolution.
For shrubs 2–8 m high the following structural forms result:
For shrubs <2 m high the following structural forms result:
Similarly, shrubland is a category used to describe a type of biome plant group. In this context, shrublands are dense thickets of evergreen sclerophyll shrubs and small trees,called:
A biome is a community of plants and animals that have common characteristics for the environment they exist in. They can be found over a range of continents. Biomes are distinct biological communities that have formed in response to a shared physical climate. Biome is a broader term than habitat; any biome can comprise a variety of habitats.
Sclerophyll is a type of vegetation that has hard leaves, short internodes and leaf orientation parallel or oblique to direct sunlight. The word comes from the Greek sklēros (hard) and phyllon (leaf).
In some places shrubland is the mature vegetation type, and in other places the result of degradation of former forest or woodland by logging or overgrazing, or disturbance by major fires.[ citation needed ]
A number of World Wildlife Fund biomes are characterized as shrublands, including:
Xeric or desert scrublands occur in the world's deserts and xeric shrublands 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 organs to store water, and long taproots to reach groundwater.
Mediterranean scrublands occur naturally in the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biomes, located in the five Mediterranean climate 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 are known as garrigue in France, phrygana in Greece, tomillares in Spain, and batha in Israel. Northern coastal scrub and coastal sage scrub occur along the California coast, strandveld in the Western Cape of South Africa, coastal matorral in central Chile, and sand-heath and kwongan in Southwest Australia.
Interior scrublands occur naturally in semi-arid areas where soils are nutrient-poor, such as on the matas of Portugal which are underlain by Cambrian and Silurian schists. Florida scrub is another example of interior scrublands.
Some vegetation types are formed of dwarf-shrubs : low-growing or creeping shrubs. These include the maquis and garrigues of Mediterranean climates, and the acid-loving dwarf shrubs of heathland and moorland.
Chaparral is a shrubland or heathland plant community found primarily in the US state of California and in the northern portion of the Baja California Peninsula, Mexico. It is shaped by a Mediterranean climate and wildfire, featuring summer-drought-tolerant plants with hard sclerophyllous evergreen leaves, as contrasted with the associated soft-leaved, drought-deciduous, scrub community of coastal sage scrub, found below the chaparral biome. Chaparral covers 5% of the state of California and associated Mediterranean shrubland an additional 3.5%. The name comes from the Spanish word chaparro, for evergreen oak shrubland.
Deserts and xeric shrublands are a habitat type defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature. Deserts and xeric shrublands form the largest terrestrial biome, covering 19% of Earth's land surface area.
Maquis (French) or macchia is a shrubland biome in the Mediterranean region, typically consisting of densely growing evergreen shrubs.
A heath is a shrubland habitat found mainly on free-draining infertile, acidic soils and is characterised by open, low-growing woody vegetation. Moorland is generally related to high-ground heaths with—especially in Great Britain—a cooler and damper climate.
Rangelands are grasslands, shrublands, woodlands, wetlands, and deserts that are grazed by domestic livestock or wild animals. Types of rangelands include tallgrass and shortgrass prairies, desert grasslands and shrublands, woodlands, savannas, chaparrals, steppes, and tundras. Rangelands do not include forests lacking grazable understory vegetation, barren desert, farmland, or land covered by solid rock, concrete and/or glaciers.
The San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden is a botanical garden located in the rolling hills of El Chorro Regional Park, between San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay in San Luis Obispo County, within the Central Coast of California region. Its grounds, when completed, will be a 150-acre (61 ha) collection of gardens displaying the diverse plant life of the five Mediterranean climate zones of the world; the Mediterranean Basin, and regions of California, Chile, Australia, and South Africa.
Southwest Australia is a biodiversity hotspot in Western Australia, it is also known as the Southwest Australia Global Diversity Hotspot, as well as Kwongan.
Matorral is a Spanish word, along with tomillares, for shrubland, thicket or bushes. It is used in naming and describing a Mediterranean climate ecosystem in Southern Europe.
In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin is the region of lands around the Mediterranean Sea that have a Mediterranean climate, with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers, which supports characteristic Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub vegetation.
Garrigue or phrygana is a type of low, soft-leaved scrubland ecoregion and plant community in the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome.
The Cape Floristic Region is a floristic region located near the southern tip of South Africa. It is the only floristic region of the Cape Floristic Kingdom, and includes only one floristic province, known as the Cape Floristic Province.
The Tamaulipan matorral is an ecoregion in the deserts and xeric shrublands biome on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Madre Oriental range in northeastern Mexico. It is a transitional ecoregion between the Tamaulipan mezquital and the Sierra Madre Oriental pine-oak forests to the west and the Veracruz moist forests to the south. It is a desert shrubland where the flora mainly consists of woody shrubs, small trees, cacti, and succulents. Piedmont scrub occurs in shallow hollows and montane chaparral occurs above about 1,700 m (5,600 ft). There are a number of resident bird species and the mammals include Mexican prairie dog, Saussure's shrew, yellow-faced pocket gopher, Allen's squirrel, collared peccary and coyote.
The Tehuacán Valley matorral is a xeric shrubland ecoregion, of the deserts and xeric shrublands biome, located in eastern Central Mexico.
The Mediterranean woodlands and forests is an ecoregion, of the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome, in the coastal plains, hills, and mountains bordering the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean in North Africa.
Kwongan is an ecoregion found in south-western Western Australia. The name is a Bibbelmun (Noongar) Aboriginal term of wide geographical use defined by Beard (1976) as a 'type of country ...[that is] sandy and is open without timber-sized trees but with a scrubby vegetation. It consists of plains in an Australian sense of open country rather than in a strict sense of flat country. ... there are two principal plant formations in the kwongan, scrub heath and broombush thicket ... both ... are sclerophyll shrublands and possess a certain unity when contrasted with woodland and forest or steppe and succulent steppe communities.' Kwongan has replaced other terms applied by European botanists such as sand-heide or sand heath, giving priority to the language of people who have lived continuously in the southwest for more than 50,000 years. Recent archeological evidence shows occupation of the Kwongan for at least 25,500 years.
The Chilean Matorral (NT1201) is a terrestrial ecoregion of central Chile, located on the west coast of South America. It is in the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome, part of the Neotropic ecozone.
Renosterveld is a term used for one of the major plant communities and vegetation types of the Cape Floristic Region which is located in southwestern and southeastern South Africa, in southernmost Africa. It is an ecoregion of the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome.
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 low-lying inland locations but can be cool near colder seas. Winters are typically mild to cool in low-lying locations but can be cold in inland and higher locations. All these ecoregions are highly distinctive, collectively harboring 10% of the Earth's plant species.