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Field boundaries in Great Britain: stock and change between 1984, 1990 and 1998

By S. Petit, R. Stuart, M. K. Gillespie and C. J. Barr

Abstract

Field boundaries are man-made features found worldwide and their multiple functions in agricultural landscapes are now widely recognised. These landscape features have declined drastically in many developed countries as a result of agricultural intensification. In Great Britain, field boundaries are regarded as elements of particular significance in the countryside, both in term of extent and value, whether ecological, cultural, or aesthetic. The Countryside Surveys of Great Britain, a national ecological, surveillance programme initiated in the late 1970s, provides information about the change in extent and ecological condition of field boundaries. In this paper, we present the main results on field boundaries derived from the latest survey, Countryside Survey 2000. These include stock and change of boundaries for the 1990–1998 period as well as an update of the previously published 1984–1990 data. Special attention is given to the evolution of the length of hedges. Applicability of the Countryside Survey methodology to other monitoring programmes and further use of the data is discussed together with the potential ecological consequences of the changes described in the paper.\ud \u

Topics: Botany, Ecology and Environment, Data and Information
Year: 2003
DOI identifier: 10.1016/S0301-4797(02)00176-7
OAI identifier: oai:nora.nerc.ac.uk:4676
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