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Hedges have little wildlife conservation value Free essay! Download now

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Hedges have little wildlife conservation value

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 1392 | Submitted: 07-Feb-2012
Spelling accuracy: 98.1% | Number of pages: 4 | Filetype: Word .doc


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Hedges have little wildlife conservation value essay previewHedges have little wildlife conservation value essay previewHedges have little wildlife conservation value essay preview

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argues the importance of hedges for conservation of wildlife

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Hedges have little wildlife conservation value

A hedge or hedgerow is characterised as a linear formation of closely spaced shrubs and trees. There are two main categories which hedges fall in to; hedgerows found in agricultural land that are usually used to create boundaries between different fields, and hedgerows which are found in urban areas. Hedges have a variety of functions such as creating a physical boundary between two areas of land, acting as a windbreaker, providing food and firewood and more recently they have become very important for wildlife conservation.
Originally hedges were formed on agricultural land as barriers between different fields and as farmers extended their fields into woodland areas creating hedgerows as edge boundaries to their land. These hedges were created with no conservation value in mind never the less they provided food, shelter and habitats for many species of invertebrates, birds and small mammals as well as acting as a windbreak to protect crops and livestock from poor weather conditions. Today the value to wildlife and conservation has greatly increased to the point where we now often manipulate hedge’s structure and composition to benefit local fauna and flora species (New, 2005). The RSPB Website (2011) states that in the UK ‘Hedges may support up to 80% of our woodland birds, 50% of our mammals and 30% of our butterflies’ thus clearly showing that hedges provide food, shelter and habitats for a high number and wide range of different organisms, therefore showing that the value of these hedges for conservation reasons is very high.
Hedgerow’s can drastically range in height, density and species type depending on several factors such as the neighboring land use, the use of fertilisers and pesticides and the local landscape topography. This allows a wider range of species type to be dependent on hedgerows because different species have different requirements for a habitat or food source. For example the RSPB Website (2011) says that some species of birds such as Bullfinches and Turtle doves prefer to inhabit hedgerows that are around four metres tall that have a high density of trees where as species such as Whitethroats and Yellowhammers prefer to inhabit much shorter hedgerows that are 2-3 metres tall with few trees, also some species such as Grey partridges rely on the grass cover at the bottom of the hedge to provide nesting places. The different ages of hedgerows also provide different characteristics for example older hedgerows often contain large amounts of dead wood and plant little which provide ideal habitats for many invertebrates. Younger hedgerows which often contain much more grass cover provide ideal habitats for some small mammals such as rabbits and mice. Therefore it is very important for ...

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