Manipulating hedgerow quality: Embankment size influences animal biodiversity in a peri-urban context
Hedgerows are important features within urban, peri-urban, and agricultural habitats because they shelter most of the biodiversity in a landscape dominated by infrastructures or a monoculture. Hedges are characterized by their vegetative cover but also by their base, notably the breadth of the embankment and the various microhabitats made by stones, coarse woody debris, and leaf litter. These features determine the availabilities of arboreal and ground refuges. Their respective roles on biodiversity remain poorly explored. We experimentally manipulated the size of the embankment in newly-constructed hedges in a peri-urban context. We used nonlethal rapid biodiversity assessments and functional indices (accounting for body mass, trophic level, and metabolic mode) to monitor the presence of a wide range of animal taxa. We observed a positive effect of embankment size on animal biodiversity. Various elements of the fauna (e.g. arthropods, reptiles) rapidly colonized newly-constructed hedges provided with an embankment. Guidelines to restore hedgerows should consider embankment size and quality. Both of these features can be improved by simply retaining the materials that are extracted when establishing agricultural plots such that a diversity of microhabitats and ground refuges become available.
Lecq, S., Loisel, A., Mullin, S. J., & Bonnet, X. (2018). Manipulating hedgerow quality: Embankment size influences animal biodiversity in a peri-urban context. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 35, 1-7.
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