Hedgerows: An international perspective on their origin, function and management
A review of the important role of hedgerows
A framework for the ecological study of hedgerows is given, before a short review of problems relating to their definition. Hedgerows have developed in response to the inherent physical and biological character of the region concerned, in conjunction with cultural factors. Traditionally, hedgerows were an important source of wood as well as other products, although such functions are in decline in many regions. They still have an important role in the landscape for soil protection and act as barriers and boundaries between management units. Although the closed landscapes of the Atlantic fringe, termed 'bocage' are often considered as the core of hedgerow distribution, there are many other regions, nor only in Europe, but also elsewhere in the world with equally dense networks. It is concluded that a review of their distribution would be of great interest for the design of appropriate policies for landscape management and conservation of hedgerows. Such regions show marked differences in hedgerow character, species composition and the type of management and there is a degree of convergence between them. The diversity of hedgerows stems from their multiple origins and includes their role in the landscape, as well as their contribution to biodiversity and function. It is emphasised that hedgerows have often changed roles in history and current regulations for their protection must be based on sound science and a precise definition of their role and contribution to social objectives. (C) 2000 Academic Press.
Author(s): J. Baudry, R.G.H.Bunce, F. Burel
Journal: Journal of Environmental Management