University of Reading Research Data Archive

The benefits of hedges and hedgerows: database of literature

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Hedges and hedgerows occur around the world, are part of a range of ecosystems, from agricultural to urban and can provide a wide range of benefits. The Close the Gap project (a partnership between The Tree Council, The University of Reading, Hedgelink, Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group, Moor Trees and the People's Trust for Endangered Species) focused on achieving bigger, healthier, better-connected hedgerows through planting and 'gapping up', gathering and sharing knowledge to improve hedgerow management, improving supplies of future hedgerow trees through local seed nurseries and by engaging the public with our important hedgerow heritage.

As part of the project a systematic search of the literature was undertaken focussing on 12 overarching benefits hedges and hedgerows can provide:

* Accessibility - including education, wellbeing, leisure/recreation, traditional skills
* Aesthetics - including privacy, screening, views
* Climate change - for example carbon capture and sequestration
* Flooding alleviation - including natural flood prevention
* Functional biodiversity - supporting pollinators, beneficial insects and natural pest control in agricultural systems
* Heritage - for example the historical landscape, traditional skills and traditional hedgelaying styles
* Livestock - control, containment and providing fodder
* Pollution control - for example reducing noise or intercepting spray drift
* Shelter - provision of shelter for wildlife and people
* Soils - the impact of hedgerows on, for example, soil health and microfauna
* Wildlife - such as providing habitats or connecting habitats
* Wood products - producing biofuel, wood fuel, woodchip or farm timber

The dis-services or negative impacts of hedgerows were also considered.

The review included a systematic search of the Web of Science (Core Collection), a search of websites of organisations known to undertake and fund research into hedges and hedgerows (Defra, Natural England, Hedgelink, Research Gateway, Woodland Trust) and a simple Google search. Recommendations from experts and citations from reviews were also followed for additional resources.

The literature search highlighted the wide range of research undertaken into the benefits of hedges and hedgerows, including to wildlife, and also some gaps, including fewer studies conducted on hedges and hedgerows in urban settings.

Resource Type: Dataset
Creators: Clark, Katherine, Garratt, Michael ORCID logoORCID:, Mauchline, Alice, Felton, Michelle, Potts, Simon ORCID logoORCID: and Bromfield, Lisa
Rights-holders: University of Reading
Data Publisher: University of Reading
Publication Year: 2022
Data last accessed: 22 June 2024
Metadata Record URL:
Organisational units: Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Participating Organisations: University of Reading
Keywords: hedges, hedgerows, benefits
Data Availability: OPEN


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