This mixed-species sandhills habitat is situated on infertile, poor-to-marginally productive soils, a habitat type that once was common to the Aiken Plateau as well as the SRS. However, forest type conversion to longleaf pine plantations has reduced this community type to isolated patches within the SRS landscape. The Scrub Oak Natural Area was registered in 1968 with the Society of American Foresters (SAF) national system of Natural Areas. It is one of two SAF Natural Areas on the SRS that were added to the Set-Aside program in 1989, the other being the Boiling Springs Natural Area (Area #18).
Representative of the sandhills turkey oak/longleaf pine community type suited to the deep, xeric sands of the Aiken Plateau, this Set-Aside serves as an excellent example of the scrub oak/longleaf pine ecosystem, undisturbed for the last 81 years. It complements the Sandhills Set-Aside (Area #3) and was established to replicate this community type within the Set-Aside Program. In addition, the Scrub Oak Natural Area and the Sandhills Fire Site (Area #26) serve as replicate areas for studies on the effects of fire and soil properties on productivity and wildlife use of sandhills communities on the SRS.