This live interview with Sam Earnshaw of Hedgerows Unlimited was conducted by Tom Willey of T&D Willey Farms and covered the science and economics of hedgerows, and provided farmers the resources they need to install them. Tom helped Sam tease out how 500,000 miles of hedgerows could become a reality, based on the benefits we know now (connections between hedgerows and beneficial and pest insects, pollinators, carbon storage as well as many other functions) and what we still need to learn.
This chart lays out a progression of activities that increasingly support biodiversity and the benefits it provides to the farm. Each farm has a unique set of circumstances and will begin at different places in the continuum, depending on its need and capacity for supporting nature. Whether the need is for building better soil health and clean water, ensuring more complete pollination and effective pest control, or enhancing habitat for wildlife, the farm can start with small steps or take big strides to integrate biodiversity.
Biodiversity is the variety of life. What does this have to do with a farm? Agriculture that provides natural habitat can support pollination and pest control, protect water quality, meet the needs of multiple species, and make a meaningful contribution to wild Nature. On most farms, opportunities exist to accommodate the needs of local species with only minor changes to farming practices. Many farmers are already contributing to biodiversity by some of their activities.
The Wild Farm Alliance Briefing Papers series explores many of the issues that define and distinguish the concept of farming with the wild. Each paper focuses on a particular issue set in the context of reconnecting food systems with ecosystems. With these papers, we are striving to bridge the gap between stewardship farming and wildlands conservation.