Evaluating canalside hedgerows to determine future interventions
Journal of Environmental Management
This paper describes a project undertaken during 2001/2002 which developed a method for valuing hedgerows adjacent to the inland waterway network of Great Britain. The method enables the landowner, British Waterways, to manage their valuable environmental asset to achieve a good level of biodiversity and robust habitat balanced against the heavy amenity use the 3000 km canal network endures. Valuation techniques were developed using a combination of new and existing ecological indices for components of biodiversity, hedgerow structure and amenity, and synthesised into an index in an innovative combined approach. The resultant index was then applied to a sample 20 km section of hedge alongside the Grand Union Canal in Southeast England. The results obtained reflect the hedgerows' present value, and highlight factors that might improve or limit their future increase in value. The results from the case study application also demonstrate that there is a positive relationship between hedgerow structure and biodiversity, and that hedgerows in urban areas are less biodiverse and structurally sound than those in rural areas. Furthermore, there is a zone within rural areas influenced by the adjacent urban areas and/or higher amenity use. The paper concludes with an assessment of the approaches' strengths and weaknesses with a view to its compatibility with other hedgerow evaluations, such as HEGS, its use by other agencies or landowners, and to aid hedgerow management and future development. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Author(s): Faiers, A; Bailey, A
Journal: Journal of Environmental Management