A modelling project undertaken at the University of Oxford has shown that doubling the number of hedgerows increases the distance that hedgehogs travel through the landscape. Landscape permeability is important for hedgehogs as they are often associated with rural settlements and need to traverse open farmland to move between villages in order to seek out mates and food. Additionally, hedgerows act as vital cover from badgers, which are a predation threat in rural areas and also provide nesting sites. The paper suggests that hedgerow availability can be increased either by planting new hedgerows or repairing existing hedgerows, which could be facilitated through agri-environment schemes.
By: Moorhouse, Tom P.; Palmer, Stephen C. F.; Travis, Justin M. J.; et al.
BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION Volume: 176 Pages: 109-116 Published: AUG 2014
The primary landscape determinant of distances that model hedgehogs travelled was the percentage of field boundaries that were hedgerow: doubling this from the status quo resulted in an additional 13% of individuals moving 500 m, 25% 1000 m, 35% 1500 m and 51% 2000 m. Agri-environmental scheme options to reinstate or repair hedges that double their percentage in lowland farmland would enhance population connectivity for European hedgehogs.