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Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems

Hedgerows and Pollinator Habitat

aerial view of farmland with hedgerows

Hedgerows are plantings of dense vegetation (perennial grasses, shrubs, and small trees) along the edges of agricultural fields. They serve as a windbreak as well as a way to add biodiversity and create habitat for beneficial insects and other wildlife. They also increase carbon storage in biomass and soils. Some ranchers and farmers have found ways to use these plantings for additional cash crops or as a way to make their land more aesthetically beautiful.

The annual value of crops pollinated by wild, native bees and other pollinators in the U.S. is estimated at $3 billion. But these insects and birds have declined due to habitat loss and the careless use of pesticides and other factors. Because over 30% of our food relies on native pollinators the federal government has taken a keen interest in encouraging and providing support for farmers who establish habitat for pollinators on their farms. You'll find many of those resources below. 

Mentor Farmers Who Create Hedgerows and Pollinator Habitat

Mentor Farmer Paul Muller standing in his cover crops

Burroughs Family Farms(opens in new window)

Frog Hollow Farm(opens in new window)

Massa Organics(opens in new window) 

Full Belly Farm(opens in new window) 

Phil Foster, Pinnacle Organically Grown Produce(opens in new window)   

   


Videos

Pollinator Hedgerows: There's a Plan for That

In this NRCS video shot in Butte County (Durham, CA), Soil Conservationist Rachael Morgan discusses the role of pollinators in California agriculture and the importance of creating habitat to support the native pollinators that are dwindling in population and can help support the farmer in return.

USDA Works to Increase Pollinator Population

The USDA's Bob Ellison talks about declines in the honeybee population and how the USDA is working with private groups and farmers to build up the numbers of other pollinators. Hedgerows are an important tool for that purpose in Yolo County, CA.

Resources

Financial and Other Assistance

Scientific Literature

Garratt P.D., Michael, etc. “The benefits of hedgerows for pollinators and natural enemies depends on hedge quality and landscape context(opens in new window).” Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, Volume 247, 1 September 2017, Pages 363-370. 

Long R., Garbach K, Morandin L. 2017. “Hedgerow benefits align with food production and sustainability goals.(opens in new window)” Calif Agr 71(3):117-119.

Morandin, Lora A., Kremen, Claire. “Hedgerow restoration promotes pollinator populations and exports native bees to adjacent fields(opens in new window).” Ecological Applications, 23(4), 06-01-2013 

Stiles, William. “The benefits of hedgerows and trees for agriculture(opens in new window).” IBERS, Aberystwyth University, September 2016.