Scrub and shrublands are characterised by vegetation dominated by shrubs, grasses, ferns and low growing trees. They can be both natural and man-made and often form a transitional state following disturbance. In New Zealand, scrub and shrublands are often considered a nuisance by farmers that see them as colonising economically productive lands. From a biological perspective, however, this plant community is significant for many reasons.
Scrub is habitat for many native plants and animals, including various lizard species, mistletoes (such as the leafless Korthalsella salicornioides) and orchids (such as Linguella puberula). They often form ‘corridors’ between areas of vegetation and some act as a nursery for regenerating forest. They can also play an important role as buffer to native vegetation.
They can also be valuable in preventing slips and reducing erosion, absorbing carbon dioxide or as a resource for honey production.
For more information see:
- Scrublands (Wikipedia)
- Subalpine scrub (from NZ Plants and their story by John Dawson)
- Importance of shrublands (Te Ara - Encyclopedia of NZ)
- Mountain shrublands (from Forest Vines to Snow Tussocks by John Dawson)
- Strongly leached terraces and plains (Landcare Research)
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