It's not very often when I hear someone on the radio promoting the idea of hedgerow plantings - but yesterday was just that day.
NPR ran a nice little story - Wild Bees Are Good For Crops, But Crops Are Bad For Bees - that highlighted some of the modern pressures that face bee populations. The story was engaging for us in Illinois as it recalled the work of Charles Robertson - a professor at Blackburn College in Carlinville IL who studied bee-plant interactions from 1887-1916.
The bottom line is that we need pollinators, and those pollinators need habitat. This may be a critical niche where post-modern hedgerows can serve the natural world. This isn't a new idea, as the work of Robertson points out, but it's gratifying to see these ideas get attention from the occasional 21st century land manager and researcher. Robertson recorded over 1400 insects in his day - which is roughly equal to a 2012 survey of organisms and insects that occupied a hedgerow in the Devon region of the UK.
It's funny how humans sort through some of these issues. We've drained wetlands only to spend vast sums building new ones. Maybe hedgerows - adaptable for many purposes - will soon be getting their 15 minutes of fame?