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Hedgerow Management: A survey of land managers - BD2117

Description
Hedgerows are a characteristic feature of many British landscapes, and can also provide valuable habitats for wildlife and may have historical value. This importance is now widely recognised, and recent legislation (in particular the Hedgerows Regulations, 1997), along with 'cross-compliance' requirements in farming, has greatly increased the protection afforded to hedgerows, effectively ending the large-scale removal of hedgerows witnessed throughout much of the last century.

The major issue now being addressed is poor hedgerow management, and the resultant high proportion of hedgerows that are in unfavourable condition (as determined by the Hedgerow BAP condition assessment methodology). A survey for Defra in 1999/2000 revealed the extent of poor hedgerow management practices, and provided a valuable insight into the causes of poor management. In the period since the completion of this survey, new agri-environment schemes have been introduced in England (Environmental Stewardship Scheme) and Wales (Tir Gofal and Tir Cynnal), which include specific options for hedgerow management - some of which have been widely adopted. Consequently, a new survey of management practices and attitudes is now required, to appraise the current situation and to determine how things have changed since 1999.

The proposed research will repeat the previous hedgerow management survey, undertaken in 1999/2000, but with increased sample sizes (to improve the scientific validity of the data collected) and inclusion of an additional target area in Wales. Two questionnaires will be distributed - one to farmers and landowners and one to agricultural contractors - asking for information about attitudes and approaches to hedgerows and hedgerow management. Questionnaires will be posted to a random sample of 600 farmers and landowners in each of four target areas: Devon, Leicestershire, North Yorkshire and an area in Wales (probably Powys). An additional 600 questionnaires will be sent to farmers across the whole of England and Wales. Questionnaires will also be posted to a minimum of 150 (target 200) agricultural contractors, in each of four target areas: South-West England, East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside and Wales.

Data will be analysed to identify:

- poor management practices leading to unfavourable hedgerow condition (and the reasons for continuation of these practices)

- any recent changes in hedgerow management and the reasons for those changes (in particular the influence of agri-environment schemes and conservation advice)

- differences in attitude and management according to geographical location, farm type or other factors identified by the surveys.

Results, except those for Wales (not included in the previous research), will be directly compared with those from the 1999/2000 survey.

A detailed technical report for Defra will include recommendations for the improved take-up of good hedgerow management practices, and the main findings will also be presented to various other key groups and organisations (including the UK BAP Steering Group for Hedgerows, Natural England and the Countryside Council for Wales) in a number of follow-up knowledge transfer initiatives.
Objective
The general objectives of the proposed research, based on those stated in Defra’s project specification, would be:

01. To undertake a survey of farmers’ and landowners’ attitudes and approaches to hedgerows and hedgerow management.
02. To undertake a survey of contractors’ attitudes and approaches to hedgerows and hedgerow management.
03. To provide a technical report and other publications, detailing the findings of the research, with particular regard to the following:
a. Differences in attitudes and management according to geographical location, farm type or other factors identified by the surveys.
b. Any recent changes in management practices and the influence of agri-environment schemes in England and Wales, conservation advice or any other factors on current good hedgerow management practices.
c. Identification of poor management practices leading to unfavourable condition of hedgerows and the reasons for the continuation of these practices.
d. Comparisons with the results of the previous ADAS survey, completed in 2000.
e. Recommendations for improved take-up of good hedgerow management practices.
Project Documents
• EVID4 - Final project report : BD2117 Evid4 final report   (128k)
• FRP - Final Report : Defra BD2117 Hedge Survey final report FEB 2012   (1699k)
• ANX - Annex : BD2117 final report Appendix 1   (124k)
• ANX - Annex : BD2117 final report Appendix 2   (56k)
• ANX - Annex : BD2117 final report Appendix 3   (429k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2009

To: 2010

Cost: £64,595
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Britt Vegetation Mangement, Risk and Policy Analysts Ltd
Keywords
Biodiversity              
Environmental Protection              
Habitat conservation              
Nature conservation