Hedging our bets: Our letter sent to The Times

Hawthorn -hedge -in -bloom -1-

Henry Cheape (letter, Apr 21) highlights the importance of planting trees in the right place. With the government wedded to increasing planting to 30,000 hectares a  year with trees by 2025,  there are plenty of opportunities for expanding woodland cover that do not require the repurposing of land. We have  estimated that planting a tree every 20 metres in English hedgerows would significantly meet the policy target without repurposing a single acre of land.

This is important because simply planting on our  arable lands or the rough pastures and meadows of the hill fringe could result in significant disruption to the ecosystem balance in these habitats. These are of critical importance for red-listed species such as curlew, lapwing, redshank, snipe, grey partridge and black grouse. Planting more trees is important; so are our international biodiversity obligations.

 Andrew Gilruth

Director of Communications

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Hedging ourbets

at 6:27 on 23/04/2021 by Simon Holloway

Trees in hedgerows compromise to survival of the hedge shrub species as shading and moisture loss increases over time. Trees in a mature hedges are hard to establish due to light and moisture competition. Hedge cutters are not good at distinguishing between hedge and trees within a hedge when cutting. Raptors and corvids actively use hedgerow trees to hunt for their prey be they adult birds, chicks or eggs. What is wrong with planting Woodland? So long as it is well protected from deer, hares and rabbits in its first 15-20 years and from squirrels in the following 50 years then a quality habitat for wildlife is created, mitigates flooding and soil loss in the right place, timber and firewood are produced and it is soaking up carbon and locking it away for 100s years, if managed carefully. There is plenty of land that could be put into productive mixed woodland that it’s earmarked for housing development or is poor farmland. I recognise that some land is more valuable as say meadows, heathlands and downland, which is being abused as intensive farmland now. Those decisions need to be had on a site by site basis. If we looked to just increase any existing woodland block or copse by a quarter or third even, we would be making a massive increase of woodland cover, without compromising on important and rare open habitats.

Hedging our bets.

at 8:47 on 22/04/2021 by Tom Cook

Hedgerow trees are not so good for grey partridges and other hedge nesting birds. Predator posts, Dick Potts. If trees are successful, the owner risks a Tree Preservation Order. Then, instead of having an asset, he is saddled with a liability.

Tree in hedges

at 7:55 on 22/04/2021 by Will

Trees in hedges are a great idea until a contractor cuts every tree off with his hedge cutter. Hard to manage.

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