Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Regulatory services delivered by hedges: the evidence base - LM0106

Regulating services delivered by hedges include air quality, climate regulation, water regulation, erosion regulation, water quality/purification, pest control and pollination. Hedges are frequently planted or restored to fulfil one or more of these functions, for example, in Catchment Sensitive Farming programmes.

However, the evidence base for the role hedges play in delivering these regulating services is poor: no review of published literature on the subject is available. The conclusions reached by research contract NR0121 were largely based on expert knowledge and opinion rather than on hard evidence. For example, is there evidence that hedges alongside watercourses are effective in reducing diffuse pollution or soil loss?

This project will review and synthesise available information, to provide policy makers, agri-environment scheme developers and land managers with easy access to relevant evidence.

The review will also identify where existing policy and advice is dependent on informed opinion rather than on evidence, and gaps in the evidence base.
The project seeks to address the follwing objectives:

1.Review available published information, including publications which are not peer-reviewed (grey literature), to identify sources of evidence relating to the regulatory services delivered by hedges. Particular focus should be paid to water quality, flood alleviation and erosion reduction. Available information should also be gathered on crop water regulation, air quality improvement, climate change mitigation and adaptation, crop pollination and crop pest control. The literature search should extend to cover research carried out or reported abroad, particularly on continental Europe.

2.Analyse and synthesise the evidence relevant to hedge conservation, creation and management, with particular relevance to the on-going development, targeting and delivery of NELMS. Where possible this should be relevant to other UK agri-environment schemes.

3.Identify gaps in the evidence base and priority areas for future research.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : LM0106 final report   (1279k)
• SPE - Specification : LM0106 Hedges and reg services specification   (109k)
• TPS - Two Page Summary : LM0106 2pg summary   (344k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2014

To: 2014

Cost: £23,800
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Centre For Ecology and Hydrology (CEH)
Environmental Stewardship              
Natural Environment - Ecosystem services