Valuing Hedgerows Their Political Ecology and ‘Medicinal' Role in Transitions to Agroecological Farming Systems in Lowland Britain

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Hedgerows are an iconic feature of the lowland British, and, particularly, lowland English landscapes. Today, with the almost universal loss of ‘infield’ biodiversity, they often represent the only element of natural/cultural heritage remaining on most conventional farms. Yet, these surviving elements of biodiversity and cultural heritage are woefully under-appreciated, and are indeed being slowly destroyed on most conventional farms through inappropriate ‘management’ rather than through outright destruction leading to loss of hedge structure, destruction of fruits, nuts, and berries, reduction of food and habitat for birds, mammals, and invertebrates, uses considerable quantities of CO2 emitting fossil fuel, and prevents the regeneration of trees in the hedgerow. Yet hedgerows have massive potential, with changed and/or relaxed management, to contribute to biodiversity conservation, soil conservation and enhancement, carbon sequestration, water retention and flood alleviation, climate change mitigation, shelter for crops and livestock, and cost savings (and reduced CO2 emissions) for the farmer. In short, hedgerows can make an important potential contribution to agroecological transitions, and to medicinal agroecology through herbal/food/medicinal products, and an overall contribution to multifunctional agro-ecosystems with multiple beneficial contributions to biodiversity, climate change mitigation, soil health, human health, and wellbeing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedicinal Agroecology
Subtitle of host publicationReviews, Case Studies and Research Methodologies
EditorsImmo Fiebrig
PublisherCRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781003146902
ISBN (Print)9780367702977, 9780367705565
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2023


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