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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: A systematic review to assess the effectiveness of hedgerow corridors as a conservation tool to increase the population viability of woodland species

Published source details

Davies Z.G. & Pullin A.S. (2006) Do hedgerow corridors increase the population viability of woodland species? Systematic Review No. 8. Part A. Centre for Evidence-Based Conservation


To mitigate the effects of habitat fragmentation, conservationists may advocate increasing habitat connectivity in order to attempt to sustain or enhance the population viability of certain species. The value of habitat or wildlife corridors to mediate fragmentation effects is debatable.

A systematic review (see: for methodology) was undertaken to investigate whether hedgerows increase the population viability of target species (i.e. species of mammals, birds, amphibians, invertebrates) or plants occupying otherwise isolated fragments of woodland habitat.

Available evidence on the role of hedgerows as corridors is insufficient to definitively evaluate their effectiveness regards maintaining, or increasing, population viability of woodland species. Although high quality evidence is lacking, a number of studies provide anecdotal evidence supporting their importance as corridors, reporting effects such as facilitating species movements. The research suggests that hedgerows with greater plant diversity and structural complexity are more favourable for movement over those of more basic composition.

In the absence of high quality evidence, management should be directed to improving quality and continuity of hedgerow corridors. Their value with regards long-term population persistence of target species needs assessing. The behaviour of species moving through hedgerows within agricultural landscape is likely to be influenced by the nature of the matrix, type and distribution of adjacent habitats, season, farming activities (e.g. herbicide and pesticide applications).

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