Shrub thickets 

Shrub thickets are wetlands dominated by shrubs and small trees less than twenty feet tall. In Wisconsin, we have two types: alder thickets and shrub-carr. Periodic disturbances like flooding, logging, or wildfire keep shrub thickets from becoming forests. Typically, the soil in shrub thickets is saturated with water.

How to recognize them

True to their name, shrub thickets have an abundance of shrubs growing among grasses, sedges, and wildflowers. Alder thickets are mostly found in northern Wisconsin. They often grow along stream banks or between forested and open wetlands. Shrub-carr, often dominated by willow or dogwood, is mostly found in southern Wisconsin.

Plants and animals to look for

Ruffed grouse

Speckled alder


Alder flycatcher


American woodcock

Wisconsin’s wetland types

Your gift helps protect wetlands like these