Humble hedgerow have their part to play in mitigating climate change

Why it’s time to think again about hedgerows – Farming Guardian

A new hedgerow standard has been announced as part of Defra Secretary Therese Coffey’s upgraded Sustain­able Farming Incentive package for 2023.

Professor Pippa Chapman, expert in soil and biogeo­chemistry, Dr Sofia Biffi, Dr Richard Grayson and Prof Guy Ziv, at the University of Leeds, have written a study –Soil carbon sequestration potential of planting hedgerows in agricultural landscapes.

They say there is evidence from many recent reports to show hedgerows play a fundamental role in protecting and enhancing the environment.

Pippa said: “Basically if you plant hedgerows, you increase the carbon storage in both the above ground biomass and in the soil.

 “Hedgerows are high diversity, linear features that accumulate carbon in both their woody bio­mass and soil.

“Namely, mitigating climate change and flood alleviation while at the same time restoring biodiversity to agricultural landscapes.”

Dr Sofia Biffi add­ed: “Our estimations show that a 40 per cent increase in hedgerow length across England will result in 4.7 per cent of present-day agricul­tural CO2 emissions from agricul­ture being sequestered each year for four decades.

“This figure could rise to 6.4 per cent by increasing hedgerow width.”