Hedgerows are listed as a priority habitat in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP). This means that they have been identified as an important habitat and actions are being taken to increase the quantity and quality of hedges in the UK, so that they continue to support a wealth of wildlife.
By taking part in the OPAL Biodiversity Survey you will help our scientists learn more about these important habitats.
Hedgerows and wildlife
Hedgerows provide vital resources for mammals, birds, and insects. They also act as wildlife corridors, allowing species to move between isolated habitats.
About 130 BAP priority species are significantly associated with hedgerows – these include moths, birds, lichens and fungi. While few of these species are dependent on hedgerows alone, the loss of hedgerows, or a decline in their quality, would be likely to have an adverse effect on their populations.
A hedge is a dynamic entity – it will always be trying to develop into a line of trees through natural succession. To maintain a hedge in its current state, or ensure it provides a certain habitat for specific species, we need to manage it.
Most of the British landscape is the result of human activity, often related to farming. This has created habitats that would all but disappear without management. Heathland, chalk grassland and moorland are just three examples. Hedgerows are no different, and require management to ensure both their condition and their survival.
We can think of a hedge as a woodland edge because often it will have the same kind of species. In fact, many of the oldest hedges were formed by clearing a woodland and leaving its edge as a boundary.
This is one of the key organisations promoting hedgerows in the UK. Its aims are to:
- inspire and enthuse people to take action to protect and conserve hedgerows for the future
- help those with an interest in hedgerows to learn more about them, and how to manage them
- influence policy and public expenditure to secure hedgerow heritage for the future
Hedges - fact and folklore
From ancient rituals to medicines, learn the more unusual facts about hedges.
Top tips for a healthy hedge
Follow these simple tips from Hedgelink and make your hedge more attractive to wildlife.
Top 10 hedge tips (PDF, 123KB)