Hedgerows beside fields support presence of helpful pollinators, report reveals
Research from the University of Reading has provided new evidence linking hedgerows as field boundaries with the presence of species beneficial to agriculture, such as pollinators like bees and 'natural enemies' such as spiders that prey on crop pests. This provides vital evidence that hedgerows are an important habitat that can benefit farmers and crop yields.
The Centre for Agri-Environmental Research at the university found that hedgerows provide a habitat for 'functionally important biodiversity', meaning they increase biodiversity that aids farmers in growing their crops. Four regions in the south of England were studied, measuring pests, abundance of natural enemies, and numbers of pollinators such as bees, as well as taking into account the condition of the hedge.
The study found that where hedges lay along the border of fields, pollinating species that aid crop production and spider species which prey on crop pests spilled over into the fields to more than 50m. This means that the presence of the hedges can increase the likelihood of these beneficial species being present in fields to support healthy crops. The study also found that hedgerows are even more valuable in landscape that are being farmed intensively, where alternative habitats for biodiversity are scarce.
Further evidence of the rich value of hedgerows and hedge trees to both our rural and urban habitats!
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