West Weald Landscape Project Conference: Hedgerows


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Presentation from West Weald Landscape Project Conference 22 May 2014

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  • Most common Hawthorn >blackthorn >mixture of woody species including hazel.
    Rarer types include ELM and BEECH hedgerows.
    Regional variation in hedgerow character is a key component of their cultural value.
    Northwards: Hawthorn-dominated
    Southwards: Blackthorn
    Devon -hedge sits on a high turf bank
    South-West England- hazel hedgerows which are rich in woody species.
    locally distinctive such as Staffordshire holly

    70% of the hedgerow tree population are ash and oak SNER
  • diverse in composition a hedgerow is the more species it is likely to support due to a diversity of flowering and fruiting times.
    native hedge plants (blackthorn hawthorn hazel dogwood field maple will support many more species than non-native plants such as garden privet, leylandii and sycamore but butterfly bush and pyracantha?

    dead wood and plant litter within the structure of the hedge and can provide a valuable habitat for many invertebrates (which in turn will attract predators such as bats, shrews and birds) and cover for small mammals

    Hedgerow trees
    between 20 and 50 million hedgerow and field trees in England, covering very roughly 2.5% of the land area.
    scarcity of young hedgerow trees to replace mature ones when they die is a major cause of concern number of isolated hedgerow trees fell by 3.9% between 1997 and 2000

    Hedge bases --buffer zone to protect root systems and which can be an important habitat in its own right.

    hedge laying, where the layed stems die off as the new shoots grow provides a source of dead wood.
    Coppicing, where stems are cut just above the ground, can provide a new lease of life to seriously damaged hedgerows.
    timing of management is important to get the best from a hedge and avoid disturbance to animals breeding or over-wintering.
    cutting cycle will determine the availability of fruits and flowers in a hedge; typically a cycle of two to three years is most beneficial for wildlife.
  • Brown hairstreak pale shining brown moth polia bombycina banded golden hoverfly callicera spinolae
  • Hedgerows most widespread semi-natural habitat
    Dispersal-Foraging., Predator Avoidance, Breeding
    Juvenile Dispersal
    Habitat and climate-change related dispersal

  • Managed hedgerows 624,000km-477,000km

    Decline in managed hedge reflects lack of appropriate management [3].

    22% in good condition excluding damage to basal flora by herbicides
    <10% HEDGES IN arable IN Good condition

    Lack of recruitment of juvenile trees
  • Integrity & continuity
    <10% gaps ,none >5m, base of canopy ,0.5m above ground
    Height =>1m, width=>1m, xsection =>3m2
    Recently introduced species
    Max 10% for non native herbaceous and woody species
    Nutrient enrichment
    <20% cover of nettles,cleavers,dock
    Undisturbed ground/perennial vegetation
    Width of undisturbed ground =>2m
    Width of perennial veg =>1m
  • Increasing mechanization cultivation, chemical application, harvesting and hedgerow management to be undertaken extremely rapidly
    Destroying much of the relict interest of ancient hedgerows
    Larger field sizes
    Fertilizer and pesticide usage
    Decline in richenss of hedge bottoms

    neglect of, and damage to, hedgerows have replaced direct loss as the most significant factors affecting
    the habitat.
    Lack of traditional hedgerow management such as coppicing or laying has led to hedges growing tall
    or becoming gappy

    Increased stocking rates
    excessive flailing and cutting of hedges down to a metre or so in height,
    and use of agricultural pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers right up to base of hedgerows has led to physical damage, loss of
    species and nutrient enrichment
  • West Weald Landscape Project Conference: Hedgerows

    1. 1. Hedgerows in our Living Landscape Jim Jones Living Landscape Officer Surrey Wildlife Trust Seminar Thursday 22nd May 2014
    2. 2. What have hedgerows ever done for us? Ecosystem Services Report to DEFRA 2009 Land Use Consultants/GHK Consulting Ltd Provisioning services Regulating services Cultural services Food Fibre Fuel Air quality Climate regulation (carbon storgae) Water regulation (NFM, SUDS) Erosion (soil) regulation Water quality / purification Pest control Pollination Hazard reduction Recreation (field sports) Cultural heritage Education Aesthetics / inspiration Sense of place Supporting services Soil formation Photosynthesis Primary production ES Option groups Number of positive services delivered P R C S B Tot Hedgerows and ditches (basic and enhanced) 3 9 5 3 1 21 Woodlands 3 7 5 3 1 19 Orchards 2 7 4 3 1 17 Buffer strips 2 7 2 3 1 15 Low input grassland 2 6 4 3 1 16 Species-rich grassland 2 6 4 3 1 16 Rough grazing (basic and enahanced) 3 5 4 3 1 16
    3. 3. Anatomy of a hedgerow Hedgerow tree -whole tree Plymouth pear -rot holes hoverfly -singing and display yellowhammer -nesting holes -feeding habitat Shrubby component -breeding site brown hairstreak hazel pot beetle -foraging habitat bechstein’s bat -nesting site linnet, cirl bunting -shelter/ predation dispersal/ commuting corridor hazel dormice Hedge Margin -breeding yellowhammer grey partridge song thrush harvest mice -foraging scarlet malachite beetle Hedge Base -foraging stag beetle -predator avoidance hedgehog -breeding reed bunting, carder bee -hibernation/ over- wintering great crested newt hazel dormouse sandy stilt puffballAll parts present in healthy hedgerow Good management is the key
    4. 4. BAP species and hedgerows • 125 priority UKBAP species linked to hedgerows (Wolton 2009) • Other species of conservation concern also linked to hedgerows E.g. Small eggar moth, stoat • Loss or decline of hedgerows impact on population
    5. 5. Hedgerows- The Landscape Scale Features connectivity semi-natural habitat Uses dispersal routes foraging breeding post-breeding habitat- and climate- change related refuge for woodland species BAP species •hazel dormouse •hedgehog •bats •polecat
    6. 6. Hedgerow Loss & Stabilisation • Drastic loss of hedgerows since 1940s – 1946-63 8000kms/year (Pollard et al 1974). – • Stabilisation 1998+ Removal and neglect =planting and restoration (CS2000)
    7. 7. Current Status • Length of hedgerow remains stable – 7% decline in managed hedge – 9% increase in lines of trees • Majority in poor condition – 22% hedges in good condition in 2006
    8. 8. Hedgerow Condition Attribute Detail Threshold Comment Dimensions Height Min 1.0m Exclude bank Width Min 1.5m Widest point of canopy Cross-sectional area Min 3m2 Height times width Integrity Gaps along length Max 10% Do not count gateways No big gaps Min 5m Do not count gateways Gap between canopy base and ground Max 0.5m Not applicable to lines of trees Undisturbed ground Width of uncultivated ground from centre line of hedge Min 2m Conforms to cross-compliance requirements in England. Hedgerow sides next to grassland automatically qualify. Not applicable to sides next to built features (including tracks, etc). Perennial herbaceous vegetation Width of such vegetation between centre line of hedge and disturbed ground Min 1m The band of herbaceous vegetation can be anywhere between centre line and disturbed ground. Hedgerow sides next to grassland automatically qualify. Not applicable to sides next to built features (including tracks, etc). Non-native species Woody species cover Max 10% Archaeophytes (naturalised pre 1500) and sycamore count as native. Herbaceous species cover Max 10% Archaeophytes (naturalised pre-1500) count as native. Hedgerow Survey Handbook 2nd Edition
    9. 9. • Isolated hedge trees fell by 3.9% 1997-2007 • Lack of recruitment of juvenile hedge trees Hedgerow Trees
    10. 10. Agricultural Intensification • Increasing mechanization • Larger field sizes • Fertilizer and pesticide usage • Neglect and damage • Lack of traditional management
    11. 11. Hedgerow Assessment 2011 • 105 hedges • 19 x 1km square (10%) • Survey volunteers trained in Standard Methodology for Condition Assessment • 33% were in ‘favourable condition’ (National: 22%) • Condition failure: – nutrient enrichment – width of undisturbed ground adjacent to the hedgerow – Integrity/continuity
    12. 12. Imbhams Farm, Furnace Place Estate
    13. 13. Soil to Plate: Grow Your Own 2/3 local schools have allotments to grow their own fruit & veg Soil to Plate: Grow and mill Children from 5 years upwards see wheat being grown, harvested product & milled into flour Soil to Plate: pick & bake Using the milled flour & other veg grown on farm children bake bread etc to complete the journey Habitat Management A range of activities around the farm Including coppicing, hedge-laying, tree planting etc Learning to care for the land Wildlife experiences Open to older children and adults the opportunity to badger watch etc and experience wildlife in a natural setting Farm BioBlitz Opportunities for children & adults to become involved in species recording and monitoring e.g. dormice, birds etc Wood Hub Involvement in understanding Sustainable woodland management from the habitat mgmt, to storage and use Sharing skills Training young people (16-25) in countryside skills, equipping them to Develop careers and Addressing skills gaps in rural areas Adult Education A series of short courses and one off talks in partnership with other local organisations e.g. Haslemere Museum?? IT Rural Broadband iPads Infrastructure Transport Tools & storage S J Chimbwandira 15/03/13 Outdoor Learning Provision of Forest Schools and other LOTC opportunities Imbhams Farm & Surrey WT: A unique & innovative partnership reconnecting people with the countryside
    14. 14. Hedgerows and Natural Flood Management • Pontbren Group, mid- Wales – Reductions in peak flow of 40% • Trees on the Uck (TRUCK), Sussex • HedgeTreesPlease, Somerset
    15. 15. Flood management • Policy Option 6 • low to moderate flood risk – store water – manage run-off – increase areas of existing wet woodlands Arun & Western Streams Catchment Flood Management Plan 2009
    16. 16. Chalara fraxinea • UK – 1.6bn ash trees outside woodlands – 98,000km of ash- dominated hedges in UK • WWLP – 23% of hedgerows contained ash – 32% of WWLP hedge trees are ash
    17. 17. Future Work • 50% of hedges in good condition • Land management advice • Targeted use of hedgerows for NFM • Assessing impact of C. fraxinea on hedgerow trees in WWLP Area