Provide or maintain hedgerows on farmland
Overall effectiveness category Awaiting assessment
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Agricultural intensification, including increases in field sizes and pesticides use, has resulted in a loss of field boundary habitats, such as hedgerows. These features can provide a relatively undisturbed habitat for wildlife in intensively managed agricultural landscapes. Hedge planting and maintenance of existing hedges has, therefore, been proposed as a means of preserving and enhancing biodiversity. Such management is sometimes funded through agri-environmental schemes.
This action does not include studies on the effect of uncultivated margins, which are included in Create uncultivated margins around arable or pasture fields.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A site comparison study in 2012 in two sites of tropical dry forest and farmland in south-western Madagascar (Nopper et al. 2017) found that a site with hedges throughout different habitats had smaller differences in reptile communities than those without hedges, and that cultivated areas with hedges had more species than cultivated areas without hedges. The similarity of reptile communities in cultivated areas, undegraded forest and degraded forest was higher in the site with hedges than in the site without hedges (result reported as a dissimilarity index). Nine species were found in cultivated areas with hedges (1–19 individuals) that were not found in cultivated areas with no hedges, whereas the opposite was true for only two species (1–3 individuals). Two sites were selected that contained undegraded forest, degraded forest and cultivated areas. In one site, hedges (2 m high, containing non-native Opuntia spp. and native vegetation e.g. Euphorbia stenoclada) surrounded cultivated areas and bordered degraded forest. The other site had no hedges. Eight 100 m transects were established in each habitat, and all reptile species were recorded within 1.5 m of the transect line (10 surveys in February–April 2012). In cultivated areas transects followed field boundaries with or without hedging.Study and other actions tested