Hedging your bets for biodiversity

For the last five years or so the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology have been conducting an investigation into the effects of different management techniques on farmland. One of the sites they chose was at Wimpole and the preliminary results are represented below.  It is a great pleasure to know that what we have been striving for at Wimpole in the form of more flowers, berries etc increases biodiversity, so long live hedge laying and incremental mowing 🙂

Why is hedgerow management important?

HawthornHawthorn berriesHedgerows provide key semi-natural habitat and resources for wildlife in agricultural landscapes. Hedgerow management can substantially alter the condition of hedges and their value as wildlife habitats. For example, farmland birds and mammals rely on berries as a food source over winter, but most hedgerow species only flower and fruit on wood that is at least two years old.

Photos: Berries on two years growth on a hawthorn hedge (left) and the same hedge after cutting in autumn (right)

Hedgerow management and rejuvenation experiments:

Blackthorn blossomThe Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) is testing the effects of cutting regimes (the frequency, timing and intensity of hedgerow trimming) and rejuvenation methods (traditional methods such as hedge-laying and coppicing and also newer alternatives) using large-scale field experiments. We are measuring a wide range of responses to our management and rejuvenation treatments, including provison of floral and berry resources, abundance and diversity of pollinating invertebrates, butterflies and moths, regrowth and structure of hedgerows and the cost of rejuvenation methods. Our results are being used to inform hedgerow management options within agri-environment schemes in England.

Photos: blackthorn blossom (above), coppicing (below left), traditional hedge-laying (centre), hedge cutting with a flail (right) at Wimpole Hall and Waddesdon Estates.

Coppicing, circular saw, wildlife hedging

CEH experimental hedge at Wimpole on Rectory Farm


CEH Midland laid hedge at Wimpole Rectory Farm


Hedgerow cutting with a flail

Waddesden Manor


About Sadeik

You may ask why "Sadeik" well it means friend in arabic. Worked in Jordan a lot doing tree surgery you see. I have worked in forestry since I left school with a two years in Telecom. Went back to forestry and tree surgery as it may not have paid as much but was far more interesting and dangerous. Spent a lot of years mountaineering, caving and canoeing too. At 29 I went to Bangor University to study Forestry and soil science then did an MSc in Water engineering all very interesting. By a quirk of fate in 1995 ended up helping sort out the woodland and park at Wimpole, funny thing was then I only intended to stay six months or so, but 18 years later I'm still here learning all the time. That's the best bit, if I wasn't able to learn something new every year I would not have stayed and as you get older you realise that the grass is not so green in the next field after all. In fact my patch is getting greener while much of the rest is getting browner.
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