In the OPAL Biodiversity Survey, our citizen scientists survey hedges, noting the key features and components of the hedge, for example, hedge structure and length. They estimate the amount of food sources present in the hedge, note any evidence of animals living in the hedge and record the invertebrates living in the hedge.
What have we found?
The data submitted by OPAL participants shows that:
- Trees and plants differed between urban and rural hedges. Blackthorn, bramble, dogrose, elder and hawthorn occurred more commonly in rural hedges, whereas beech, holly, ivy, privet and yew occurred more commonly in urban hedges
- The most common invertebrate groups also differed between urban and rural hedges. Blowflies, caterpillars, harvestmen, spiders and weevils were commonly found in rural hedges, whereas ants, earwigs and shieldbugs occurred more frequently in urban hedges
- The presence of hard surfaces, such as roads, adjacent to hedges reduces the amount of food available to wildlife and the diversity of invertebrate species in them
The following scientific journal paper used OPAL Biodiversity Survey data:
- Gosling, L. (2016) Differences between urban and rural hedges in England revealed by a citizen science project, BMC Ecology (open access version)
See results on the OPAL Data Explorer
Explore the OPAL Biodiversity Survey results and draw your own conclusions. Use the OPAL Data Explorer to:
- Map all Biodiversity Survey data
- See what data has been collected on hedges near you
View Biodiversity Survey results on the OPAL Data Explorer (opens in new window)
View more results
- Get more involved - our useful links to organisations and resources relating to hedges and the biodiversity they support