As there is little native forest in Ireland, hedgerows are an important substitute for woodland edge habitat. Most hedgerows originate from planting and typically form field or property boundaries They commonly support many native and non-native trees and shrubs including ash, hazel, beech, elder and willow, some of which may occur as scattered tall trees. Hedgerows also frequently contain climbing plants such as ivy and honeysuckle. They host a wide range of insect, bird and mammal species and provide networks within which animals can move in safety from one habitat to another. The most significant threats to hedgerows include inappropriate management and clearance of hedgerows for development of land and agricultural expansion.
What can I do to help Hedgerow biodiversity?
· If you are concerned about any activities in your area that are destructive to hedgerows, you can report details to the Gardaí or your local Wildlife Ranger, whose number will be in the telephone directory
· When planting a new hedge it is important to use native species grown from native seed sources. Where possible, use seeds that have been locally sourced
· If you have hedgerows on your property, you should consider appropriate management techniques. Without appropriate regenerative management we will lose many of our hedges to old age in the near future. The traditional craft of hedge-laying is an effective method of rejuvenation. Information about appropriate hedgerow management can be found on the Teagasc Website
For more information on Hedgerows including interesting species associated with hedgerows, how to manage hedgerows properly, the threats to hedgerows and the legislation that protects them download Hedgerows Factsheet