Rediscovering the ancient practice of low maintenance, local hedgerows to enhance biodiversity and create habitat for birds and insects on campus.
Have you ever noticed a bird concert while walking past a lawn? No? This is because our normal lawns are “dead spots” for biodiversity, especially in terms of habitat for local birds and insects. The first solution to enhance bird habitat that comes to mind is to plant trees, however, a couple of new trees on campus are expensive, and produce biomass relatively slowly. That is why we are concentrating on the ancient practice of hedgerows which are cheap ecosystems with a high benefit for biodiversity. Historically, hedgerows were already used in the Middle Ages to reduce erosion on farms. Hedgerows are made up of local, insect-friendly shrubs and edging flowers (see attachment for impressions & species) that will raise the hide, cover and breeding site for birds and will also increase food availability for birds, bumblebees, bees and other insects. Moreover, they provide a lair and winter habitat for hedgehogs and other small animals. The shrubs will act as bio-air-filter against air pollution and natural protection against erosion. A hedgerow will fill up our senses with its blossoms, sweet fragrances, birdsongs buzzings, as well as the birdwatching and the changing appearance. Since it does not grow too high, nor becomes boliseased the maintenance cost will be low compared to lawn or trees. A possible location could be next to Sorbonnelaan and Leuvenlaan with an area of 3m*20m. So all in all, hedgerows will improve the UU microclimate as well as the living conditions of avifauna, other small animals and insects which will result in more biodiversity on campus.
Scope of the project
The project targets 3m*20m of lawn at the Uithof (possible location between Sorbonnelaan and Leuvenlaan: see attachment).After a successful implementation, the project can inspire similar projects on a wider scope on campus or even at other universities.
Hedgerows are not high in maintenance, so the majority of the costs will arise in the beginning of the project to buy plants and mulch. The total cost amounts to 1,500€ for a 3m*20m hedgerow. Breakdown: Shrubs: 9€ each, two per sqm;Edging flowers: 3€ each, three per meter on each side;Mulch: 1€ per sqm to reduce the amount of weeds --> Total: 75€ per linear meter for 3m width.Depending on demand and funding the hedgerow can be lengthened/shortened, however, the width of 3m should be kept to guarantee enough space for the nesting places.
How do you envisage dealing with COVID-19 restrictions?
Since only our group (three people) are planting the shrubs outside in autumn we expect no violations against the future covid restrictions. If by then still only two people are allowed together, we will work in shifts.
- Academic staff members
- Non-academic staff members
Expected date to be completed
Team Leader Information
Name: Sara Matthée
Number of members of this group: 2