Farmland Wildways

WFA_Wildways_RGB.png

Hedgerows to the Moon and Back

Farmers who recognize the intrinsic value of biodiversity often aspire to planting enduring habitat, such as a hedgerow. They are usually looking to support pollinators and beneficial insects, but they get so much more.

Hedgerows, windbreaks and other linear rows of native trees and shrubs sequester carbon, and provide food and cover for beneficial birds and other wildlife. They also serve as corridors through farms and connectivity between natural areas.

On-farm habitat has disappeared across millions of acres of industrial farms. Historically, Great Britain’s hedgerows could have reached the moon and back, a distance of ~500,000 miles, but nearly half are gone.

Our goal is to inspire 25% of U.S. farms plant a Farmland Wildway, having an average of 1 mile of a hedgerow or windbreak, leading to 500,000 miles of living field borders. 

It is All About the Habitat

Hedgerows bring new and diverse living features to the farm, conveying some of the wildness of nature. A well-thought-out mix of native plants provides a spread of flowering and fruiting periods resulting in food resources being available for beneficials most of the year.

Short and medium-sized shrubs can be planted that won’t shade out a crop; medium and tall-sized shrubs protect crops from dust; and tall trees provide crops shelter from wind and cover for canopy loving birds. The bigger that shrubs and trees are, the more birds present and the more carbon is stored in woody tissues.

Soils also benefit. Hedgerows prevent erosion, increase water infiltration, and enlarge carbon stocks in the soil as a duff layer is formed from sloughing off leaves. Including an understory of herbaceous plants can help crowd out weedy vegetation.

Hedgerows and other wildways can be located along fence lines, farm roads, and in other non-crop areas; they increase the biodiversity of the farm and in the region.

Inspiring Farmers

What opportunities and tools are we making available to help farmers adopt practices that support beneficial birds?

We are inspiring farmers to take action in planting hedgerows, field borders and windbreaks because they make farming so much fuller – full of life, from insects and lizards to birds and bobcats – full of color and buzzing and birdsongs – and full of lessons, the farmer ever alert to the signs by which nature is revealed.

A mix of educational and funding opportunities is offered for learning about wildways.        

Technical and Financial Assistance

We and our partners assist farmers in researching the best options for installing a wildway, and help them obtain funds to purchase plants and supplies.

  • Throughout California, we are helping farmers and their assistants with planting wildways (hedgerows, field borders and windbreaks) through California’s Healthy Soils Program, which aims to sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Contact us to find out about enrollment periods.
  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) also offers support for hedgerows, field borders and windbreaks across the nation, with an aim towards clean water, healthy soil and better wildlife habitat. Contact your state office.

 

Education Opportunities

 

Tools and Resources

Growing the Movement

Ready to get started?

Learn about the many ways to get started with benefiting from and supporting wildways.

Three easy ways to get involved:

Farmers - install a wildway on your farm! Contact us to get started. Or if you already have a hedgerow, field border or windbreak, let us know about it.

Advocates – Join WFA.

Spread the word Share our information with your farmer friends and others who want to see more wildways on farms.