Scrub

Habitat type: 

Scrub
Scrub

Habitat code: 

WS1

This broad category includes areas that are dominated by at least 50% cover of shrubs, stunted trees or brambles. The canopy height is generally less than 5 m, or 4 m in the case of wetland areas. Scrub frequently develops as a precursor to woodland and is often found in inaccessible locations, or on abandoned or marginal farmland. In the absence of grazing and mowing, scrub can expand to replace grassland or heath vegetation. Trees are included as components of scrub if their growth is stunted as a result of exposure, poor soils or waterlogging. If tall trees are present, these should have a scattered distribution and should not form a distinct canopy. This category does not include areas that are dominated by young or sapling trees (<5 or 4 m in height) or young conifer plantations (see immature woodland - WS2 or conifer plantation - WD4). Linear boundary features of scrub that are less than 4 m wide should be considered under hedgerows - WL1.

Scrub can be either open, or dense and impenetrable, and it can occur on areas of dry, damp or waterlogged ground. Common components include spinose plants such as Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), Gorse (Ulex europaeus), Juniper (Juniperus communis), Bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg.) and erect or scrambling roses (Rosa spp.), in addition to a number of willows (Salix spp.), small birches
(Betula spp.) and stunted Hazel (Corylus avellana). Scrub may also contain Bog-myrtle (Myrica gale) and Broom (Cytisus scoparius). The field layer is often impoverished and poorly-developed but, in some situations, may be similar to that of woodland. Low-growing Western Gorse (Ulex gallii) and prostrate Juniper (Juniperus communis) can also be components of heath. Note that any areas that are dominated by non-native shrubs should be excluded (see ornamental/non-native shrub - WS3).

Links with Annex I: Stands of juniper scrub correspond to the annexed habitat, ‘Juniperus communis formations on heaths or calcareous grasslands (5130)’.