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East Mendip Hedgerow Project (EMHP)
Over 2000 hedges were surveyed at reconnaissance scale to determine their management type, historical features and woody species content. A further 100 hedges were re-surveyed later in late summer to determine their value as important hedges in terms of the Hedgerow Regulations and to log their ground flora. Ten of those hedges with different management regimes are currently being investigated for their small mammal and invertebrate populations.
Four Parish exhibitions, a hedge competition and a hedge laying course were held to show the results to the general public, or elicit community involvement.
The surveys revealed that a significant proportion of the areas hedges are in management decline, especially mature (taller) hedges. The greatest need for targeted advice in this respect was in the eastern half of the study area. Perhaps surprisingly, hedges that were regularly trimmed proved to be the most species-rich and historical features in these were better protected. Almost 1 in 20 hedges have been lost since 1970, outstripping new planting. Hedges in the west of the survey area were less species-rich than in the east, and hedges bordering old lanes and roads were the most species-rich of all. About 70% of the hedges would be regarded as "important hedgerows" in terms of the Hedgerow Regulations.
More community involvement is planned in early 2005 with a further exhibition, two "hedges and history" walks, and hedge planting/laying events.
Colborne and Francesca Lemon (FWAG)
macro-invertebrates in the bases of six East Mendip hedgerows - Winter
in the East Mendip area, representing mature or untrimmed hedges with
a woody species component that was either species-rich, species-poor or
gappy, were selected for sampling. The aim of the study was to characterise
the diversity of overwintering fauna in the hedgerow bases. These hedges
represent the main hedgerow types identified by extensive surveys as part
of the East Mendip Hedge Project. Each hedge was divided into three lengths
and the macroinvertebrate fauna sampled at three locations in each length.
Samples were bulked for sorting and identification. A Vortis vacuum sampler
was first used to catch surface invertebrates in a 10cm diameter area,
which was then soil cored to a depth of approximately 10cm. Samples were
stored and then sorted. Vortis samples were sorted under a binocular microscope,
while soil samples were washed through brass sieves and material retained
by 420Ám mesh was sorted by eye. Animals were identified to major groups
under a binocular microscope and the data analysed using formal Analysis
of Variance and Principal Component Analysis.