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Islanders urged to back countryside campaign with a difference

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ISLANDERS are being asked to consider a novel gift idea to help restore the rural landscape and support Jersey’s climate-change obligations.

Tree planting at Mourier Valley

The National Trust for Jersey and The Jersey Royal Company have joined forces to plant 20,000 saplings across ten miles of hedgerows in the Island’s north-east.

Thanks to £80,000 of funding from a charitable trust and a benefactor, the project is well under way – but now Islanders are being urged to play their part by sponsoring a hedgerow.

Arboriculturalist Conrad Evans, who is co-ordinating the Hedge Fund project, said: ‘We are offering people and trust members the opportunity to contribute by sponsoring lengths of hedgerow for themselves, or as gifts for others, for just £5 a metre.

‘Recently, a four-year-old boy suggested his friends gave money in lieu of presents for his birthday that amounted to £46 and paid for just under ten metres of hedging.’

The Hedge Fund is running concurrently with another trust project to invest £40,000 in planting around 6,000 trees on 50 vergées of land above Mourier Valley in St Mary. The three-year project, in partnership with Jersey Trees for Life, is supported by Jersey Electricity and Jersey Water.

Both initiatives form part of the charity’s drive to safeguard biodiversity and help Jersey achieve its aim of being carbon neutral by 2030.

The appeal has only been going for a few weeks and has raised £2,755 from people wanting to sponsor lengths of hedgerows.

Mr Evans says a well-managed 100m length of mature hedgerow has the potential to store up to 120kg of CO2 per year.

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Originally planted to protect crops and livestock against the elements and define boundaries, over the centuries hedgerows have become homes for wildlife and birds.

Mr Evans said: ‘They offer food, habitat, breeding sites, refuge for wildlife and increase biodiversity, markers and routes for moths, bats and birds. In the landscape, they define field boundaries, maintain our patchwork effect of small fields and character of the Island as opposed to large prairie-land sized fields.

‘They also help blur and enhance views, create a variation of colour and texture through the seasons and reflect our cultural heritage.’

Paula Thelwell

By Paula Thelwell
author

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