Sand Pine Scrub at Seabranch

Seabranch Preserve State Park Sand Pine Scrub

Sand Pine Scrub

Sand Pine Scrub is an ancient natural community that makes up the majority of Seabranch Preserve State Park.  Much of the park’s hiking trails and the East Coast Greenway travel through the scrub, allowing visitors to explore this unique habitat. Open patches of white sand throughout may remind visitors of the beach, and for good reason as this area was once beach shoreline millions of years ago before the oceans retreated.  

The canopy of this community consists of sand pines and the understory is dominated by saw palmetto, three oak species (sand live oak, Chapman’s oak and myrtle oak) and other native shrubs. 

Some of the wildlife that make their home in the scrub community include: scrub jays, gopher tortoise, indigo snake, scrub lizard and sand skink. 

Fire is a very important component of a healthy sand pine scrub ecosystem.  Scrub evolved with lightning based fires shaping the landscape. These fires help to clear out excess vegetation and allow for new growth that is important for many species. Seabranch Preserve State Park uses prescribed fire to mimic fires that would naturally occur. 

Over the years numerous prescribed fires have helped to keep the scrub ecosystem at the park in good condition, benefiting the plant and wildlife species within the park.