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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Hedgerow management can increase diversity of plants and true bugs in the hedge base

Published source details

Marshall E.J.P., West T.M. & Maudsley M.J. (2001) Treatments to restore the diversity of herbaceous flora of hedgerows. Hedgerows of the World: Their Ecological Functions in Different Landscapes, International Association for Landscape Ecology, 10th Annual Conference of the International Association for Landscape Ecology, Birmingham, UK, 319-328.


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Manage hedgerows to benefit wildlife (includes no spray, gap-filling and laying) Farmland Conservation

A replicated, controlled study of three hedgerows in farmland at Long Ashton Research Station, Somerset (Marshall, West & Maudsley 2001) found that hedgerow management, particularly sowing perennial seed mix, increased botanical diversity in the hedge base.  Plant species diversity in sown plots was significantly higher than in plots where the hedge was cut, in two arable fields (17-38 vs. 13-27 species in sown and unsown plots respectively) and one grassland field (23-27 vs 16-23). In the grassland field, there was little difference between treatments (unmanaged: 15-21; autumn cut: 16-23; selective herbicide: 17-23; no fertilizer: 19-24) and the initial increase in number of plant species in the sown plot did not persist. In the cereal fields plots sown without selective herbicides tended to have more plant species than plots sown with selective herbicides (18-27 vs 16-23). There was no overall difference between number of plant species in autumn- (14-26 species) and spring-cut hedges (13-27). Excluding fertilizer (13-31 plant species) and applying selective herbicide (17-29 plant species) tended to increase the number of plant species, although the initial increase due to fertilizer exclusion only persisted in one of the two arable fields. Total herbicide application initially reduced the number of plant species to four, but species rapidly recovered (15-24). The number of true bug (Heteroptera) species was higher in plots treated with selective herbicide than other treatments (grassland: 10 vs 7 true bug species with and without selective herbicide respectively; arable: 5 vs 1-3). Three hedgerows with low botanical diversity and high annual weed densities were selected. Treatments were applied to consecutive 1 m wide plots along each hedge bottom. Vascular plants were recorded in May and July-August 1997-1999.  Invertebrates were sampled using a D-Vac suction sampler (four 5-second samples).