Bush encroachment (also shrub encroachment, woody encroachment) is a natural phenomenon characterised by the increase in density of woody plants (bushes and shrubs) at the expense of the herbaceous layer (grasses and forbs). It is often considered an ecological regime shift and a symptom of land degradation. Bush encroachment is found to have severe negative consequences on key ecosystem services, especially biodiversity, animal habitat, land productivity and groundwater recharge. Bush encroachment can refer both to the expansion of native plants as well as the invasion and spread of invasive species. The phenomenon is observed across different ecosystems and with different characteristics and intensities globally. Among the more severely affected landscapes is the Veld in Southern Africa.