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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The effects of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme and Environmentally Sensitive Areas agreements in England on the hedgerow network over five years in England

Published source details

Associates C.B. (2004) Hedgerow Maintenance and Restoration under the ESA and Countryside Stewardship Schemes. Defra report.


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 study of 751 hedges restored under 100 Countryside Stewardship Scheme agreement and 774 hedges restored under 100 Environmentally Sensitive Area agreements in England investigated the effects on the hedgerow network over five years (Catherine Bickmore Associates 2004). Limited data were presented comparing biodiversity pre- and post-works.  Overall, the majority of hedges under the agreements were less than 2 m wide at the base (Countryside Stewardship Scheme: 65%; Environmentally Sensitive Area: 81%) and under 2 m tall (Countryside Stewardship Scheme: 48%; Environmentally Sensitive Area: 57%). Trees were present in 53-56% of hedges. Overall, 21% of Countryside Stewardship Scheme and 38% of Environmentally Sensitive Area hedges were classified as species-rich (compared to an average of 26% of hedges in England). The average number of basal flora species per hedge was six species under Countryside Stewardship Scheme and eight under Environmentally Sensitive Area agreements. Significantly more pre-works hedges were over 2m in height (Countryside Stewardship Scheme: 53%; Environmentally Sensitive Area: 62%) compared to post-works hedges (Countryside Stewardship Scheme: 28%; Environmentally Sensitive Area: 34%). Under Environmentally Sensitive Area agreements, significantly more pre-works hedges were over 2 m wide (20%) than post-work hedges (11%). Countryside Stewardship Scheme hedges with a high structural variability tended to be pre-works (16 vs 12%) including hedges of a gappy nature and of various heights. Only 11% of the pre-works Countryside Stewardship Scheme hedges were stock-proof, compared to 18% post-works. Hedges pre- and post-restoration works (coppicing, laying or planting) were sampled using the national local hedgerow procedure. A maximum of eight hedges were sampled from any one agreement.