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The effect of hedgerow loss on microclimate in the Mediterranean region: an investigation in Central Spain

Agroforestry Systems


In Central Spain hedgerows are an important component of the landscape although many have been lost due to landscape planning and reallotment programmes. Loss of hedgerows can produce changes in environmental conditions that can be especially critical in summer, corresponding with the dry period in Mediterranean ecosystems. In order to show the effects of hedgerow removal on summer Mediterranean environmental conditions in rural landscapes, this paper describes a comparison of some key environmental conditions between areas where hedgerows are still present, compared to areas where they have been removed. Through a two-way ANOVA, it was found that temperatures in the hedgerows were significantly different from those in the fields, whilst air temperatures beneath the hedgerows were lower, and steadier, than those of surrounding areas. When temperatures of the fields were compared to those sites where hedgerows had been removed, significant differences in temperatures were detected below-ground and sometimes at soil surface level but not at higher levels. The levels of soil water content and organic carbon were higher where hedgerows were still in place. These differences indicate potentially negative environmental impacts due to hedgerow removal. The implications of hedgerow conservation for environmental protection and for cropland productivity are discussed.

Author(s): Sanchez, IA; Lassaletta, L; McCollin, D; Bunce, RGH

Journal: Agroforestry Systems

Year: 2010


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