, Volume 15, Issue 8, pp 2595-2610
Date: 23 May 2006

Hedges and Green Lanes: Vegetation Composition and Structure

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Abstract

In this paper the vegetation of 20 green lanes, defined as tracks bounded by hedgerows, is examined in terms of composition and structure and compared with that of 20 matched single hedgerows. For analysis the vegetation of the lanes was separated into three areas; central track, verges inside of hedgerows and verges outside of hedgerows. The vegetation of these areas was found to differ in species richness, community structure, plant strategies and environmental traits. When compared with verges of the matched single hedgerows, the inside verges and central track were greatly different whereas the outside verge appeared broadly similar. Green lanes contained significantly more plant species than matched single hedgerows, differences being most pronounced when compared as landscape units, rather than as a mean of the constituent parts. The potential effect of surrounding land use on green lane floral diversity is discussed as well as the importance of maintaining the structural diversity of green lanes for farmland biodiversity.