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Effects of management on the biodiversity of English hedgerows

Hedgerows of the World: Their Ecological Functions in Different Landscapes

Abstract

The impact of hedge trimming using flail cutters on berry production, the herbaceous flora of the hedge base and the invertebrate fauna of the hedge were investigated in designed experiments at sites across southern Britain. Hedge trimming in September was contrasted with cutting in February on annual, biennial and triennial cycles. Results were complex, varying for different taxa. The longer hedges were left uncut, the greater the production of fruits on woody shrubs, which provide winter food for birds, though climbers such as Rosa spp. were unaffected by cutting frequency. September cutting removed berries produced that year, but February cutting adversely affected some invertebrates, notably Lepidoptera and Diptera populations. Some groups were more abundant on annually-cut hedges, compared with biennially-cut hedges. The results indicate that not all hedges on a farm or holding should be cut at the same time and that a relaxation from an annual cutting cycle would benefit biodiversity.

Author(s): Marshall, EJP; Maudsley, MJ; West, TM; Rowcliffe, HR

Journal: Hedgerows of the World: Their Ecological Functions in Different Landscapes

Year: 2001

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