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.”