Contract Period : 01/07/2023 - 31/07/2025
Main Funder : Charitable Trusts and ORC Supporters via the Big Give Green Match Fund
ORC Staff Contact : Colin Tosh
Ancient woodland now covers just 2.5% of the UK’s land area and we have lost 50% of our hedgerows since 1945, and they are still in decline. As a result, animals that once flourished in these habitats are also significantly diminished.
This project will aim to collect definitive evidence for the role of hedgerows in nurturing woodland biodiversity by studying the distribution of invertebrates in woodland patches. The findings of the study will be disseminated to the scientific community and through our Agricology platform to reach as wide an audience as possible. As a result we hope that landowners will be motivated to introduce and/or maintain healthy hedgerows on their land, thus improving local biodiversity.
This project will start to collect definitive evidence for the role of hedgerows in joining woodland patches for animal and plant migration.
Online scoping to identify appropriate field sites. Maps of the UK will be studied to find woodland patches of similar size that are and are not connected by hedgerows, for comparison.
Fieldwork. An ORC researcher will go into these patches and lay invertebrate pitfall traps to catch ground dwelling bugs and these will be returned to the lab and identified.
Analysis of the field data. If hedgerows are allowing migration between patches, we predict that the community composition of the bugs in patches joined by hedgerows should be more similar than those not connected.
Dissemination of results. Publication of a peer reviewed journal and results via a press release, ORCs website and social media channels and Agricology.
This is an ORC independently owned and managed project. ORC is the project lead, coordinator and budget holder.