The Political Ecology of Hedgerows and Their Relationship to Agroecology and Food Sovereignty in the UK

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Hedgerows can make an important contribution to agroecological transitions and to an overall contribution to multifunctional agro-ecosystems with multiple benefits for biodiversity, climate change mitigation, soil health, human health, well-being, and livelihoods. Where such agroecological transition assumes the form of political agroecology, this can underpin transformation of the farming system towards food sovereignty. Current mismanagement of hedgerows is constraining the optimum delivery of ecosystem services by these important features of the British landscape. This mismanagement is, moreover, an integral part of a (capitalist) productivist degradation of the countryside that is contributing to the delivery of ecosystem disservices and is, therefore, antithetical to the adoption of agroecological production practises. Being contrary to the requirements of political agroecology, it is similarly antithetical to the requirements of food sovereignty. In response, this paper outlines what appears to be required, in policy and political terms, for the adoption of an agroecological and food sovereignty framework enabling the sustainable management of hedgerows and maximising their potential for ecosystem services delivery.
Original languageEnglish
Article number752293
Number of pages15
JournalFrontiers in Sustainable Food Systems
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms
of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or
reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 Tilzey.


Funding Information:
This work was supported by Research England QR Strategic Priorities Fund.

Funding Information:
(although it has been published in non-peer reviewed publications as per the “Land” citation). However, the agroecological foundations for his fieldwork, and conclusions from it, are supported by peer-reviewed research (see below) and his work has been funded through the EU Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 727848 and is summarised in the following link entitled “Low input and organic heritage cereal production in South East England.” pdf Similar experimental fieldwork and findings have been undertaken in the USA by Rogosa (funded by the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program) where einkorn, emmer, and other landrace wheats outperform modern wheats under organic conditions (that is, where synthetic fertilisers and pesticides are not applied) (see Rogosa, 2016, p. 4).


  • agroecology
  • food sovereignty
  • hedgerows
  • political ecology
  • sustainable food system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Food Science
  • Ecology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Horticulture


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