An EIP-AGRI Operational Group working together to increase the implementation of multifunctional hedgerows that offer environmental benefits as well as climate mitigation and adaptation.
Establishing multifunctional hedgerows around agricultural fields is a steadily increasing activity, included in several policies as a means to secure sustainable agriculture and climate change adaptation. This project, taking place in the region of Murcia, Spain, involves the design, implementation and monitoring of multifunctional hedgerows to contribute to a sustainable agricultural system with a low environmental impact.
By implementing perennial vegetation, more CO2 will be captured, contributing to climate change mitigation. The creation of ecological corridors and the diversification of the vegetation will also increase the resilience and biodiversity of farming systems, a key element in addressing the current environmental crisis the planet is facing. A particular feature of the project is that it involves multiple actors at different levels of the agricultural sector. For instance, very important scientific information was provided through the collaboration with research institutes and that knowledge was then applied in the field to different types of agriculture. The main actions undertaken by the project were the implementation and monitoring of natural hedgerows and the public dissemination of practical information related to these sustainable, climate-focused actions.
By the project’s end, 20 hedgerows spread across 5 ha are expected to be fully established, with 35 000 seedlings introduced. In addition to their environmental benefits, including wildlife habitat, natural pest management, and climate mitigation through sequestration and storage, the hedges offer significant adaptation benefits as well. Hedges increase soil organic matter and improve soil structure to provide erosion control, infiltration and water retention capacity to combat the impacts of extreme rainfall and drought.