This week on Ireland’s Classic Hits Radio we’re looking at the importance of hedgerows for the local ecosystem. 


The Value of Hedgerows


Flooding control – root systems of hedgerows regulate water movement and help prevent flooding


Disease control – hedgerows help prevent the spread of airborne disease


Water quality – hedgerows trap silt and soil particles, which clog up fish spawning grounds if they enter watercourses


Cultural / Historical – hedgerows are part of Ireland’s cultural, historical and archaelogical heritage. Townland boundary hedgerows are particularly important


Wildlife – as the area of native woodlands in Ireland is small, hedgerows have become very important wildlife habitats in the Irish countryside


Landscape – hedgerows give character and a sense of place to a particular landscape. They give an identity to a townland or county, making it distinct from other areas


Shelter – hedgerows provide protection for livestock and crops for up to thirty times their height, a dense base is also more effective


Stock enclosure – hedgerows provide long term cost effective stockproof barriers, if well managed. 


Scenic appearance – Characteristic Irish hedgerow, enhancing the countryside


Hedgerow trees – Mature trees provide roosts for bats, while saplings just above the height of the hedgerow are important perching posts for birds


Birds – Of the 110 species regularly recorded in the Countryside Bird Survey in Ireland during the breeding season, 55 use hedgerows. Of these, 35 nest in hedgerows over 1.4 m high and 1.2 m wide, which provide cover from overhead and ground predators.


Cover – Hedgerows with a dense base provide cover for small birds and mammals, such as the hedgehog. The barn owl hunts along hedgerows for prey such as the field mouse


Places for Plants – Hedgerows provide places for many native flora, such as the primrose. Flora in turn provides food sources, such as blackberries on the bramble


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