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Planting Hedges And Trees At Museums

Introduction

Larger fauna have a different and as equally important role to play in helping to increase, stabilize and support biodiversity. Two of the main ways we can do this is through the planting of hedgerows and trees. While trees and, to a lesser extent, hedgerows can have a direct impact on climate change and carbon emissions, they also can help to create spaces and supportive habitats for many species to thrive. Both trees and hedgerows have declined across Britain during the twentieth century due to agricultural demands on the land.

Planting trees and hedges

Trees can act as shelters for many bird and insect species, potentially provide food for animals (depending on the tree) and can improve certain soil conditions. They can provide nesting space for birds, suitable habitats for shade loving plants, fungi, lichen and mosses. Ancient woodland supports more biodiversity than any other kind of land habitat in the UK. Native trees are better for increasing biodiversity, such as the English Oak, Scots Pine, hazel and ash trees whereas non-native species that were introduced for timber or food needs are less suited- these include introduced conifer species such as the Norwegian Spruce or Corsican Pine.

Similarly, hedgerows provide vital shelter, food and act as “nature corridors”, connecting parts of the land to one another which can prove vital for a species success. Different types of hedgerows, different compositions, provide different benefits to biodiversity. For example, native hedge plants will support more species than non-native plants. Older hedgerows with more dead wood, foliage and general natural debris can provide a material and space for many invertebrates and cover for small mammals. As these grow they attract larger predators such as bats and birds. By providing a base for nature to start rebuilding from, if done right, we can simply stand back and let nature do the rest of the work. They also provide a better alternative to fences or walls to mark boundaries.

Caution needs to be taken when planting trees and hedgerows and other such types of fauna to ensure that species are being used which will benefit the local environment. What is being planted has to have the attributes to be able to help the biodiversity in the area, not degrade the environment or outcompete other organisms.

Each museum will be uniquely placed in its resources to be able to undertake such biodiversity commitments, especially as trees and hedgerows need substantial space and management time. Each museum should carefully consider what will best suit it’s current capacity and will be of best benefit to the local environment.

Resources

Further information and guidance can be found at: