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Bigger hedgerows better for climate

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The Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) has welcomed moves towards paying farmers for public goods, saying that they could improve the management of trees and hedgerows.

Speaking ahead of a new report on land use by the Committee on Climate Change, Martin Lines, chairman of NFFN, said such could herald support for a woodier landscape which is good for both wildlife and the climate.

As well as providing habitat and storing carbon, large hedgerows, alongside trees and copses on farmland, could deliver benefits for farmers by sheltering and feeding livestock and curbing rural crime, he said.

“We need a woodier landscape; the focus has been about trees, but it’s a woodier landscape, which includes bigger, bushier hedges with trees, and in some places, copses of trees,” he explained. “The system has been about clean and tidy, all of society, everyone’s gardens are clean and tidy. I’m really excited at this idea of a bushier, woodier, wilder landscape, connecting things, with watercourses, with hedgerows, some real wild areas and not-so-wild areas. Hedges have a key role to play in that.”

At the same time as providing habitat and storing carbon, large hedgerows, alongside trees and copses on farmland, could deliver benefits for farmers by sheltering and feeding livestock and curbing rural crime, he said. In a previous study, the Committee on Climate Change said hedges and trees on farms could play a key role in cutting emissions.

Photo Caption: More untidy hedgerows could capture carbon and provide other benefits

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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