Loss of hedgerows is impacting wildlife, hunting

Posted 8 March 2019 at 8:01 am


This past year, there has been considerable discussion on windmills. However, no one has mentioned the amount of trees that have disappeared.

While our attention has been focused on windmills, acres of trees have been removed by the dozer. Windmills would certainly change the landscape. However, the landscape has already changed due to the vast amounts of hedgerows that have been taken out. We should be watchful regarding the amount of hedgerows and woods that are continuing to be removed.

Where we once looked out and viewed a colorful tree line, we now see traffic a mile or more away on a distant road. We have seen as farmer’s fields have increased in size. Farmers need bigger lot sizes to accommodate larger equipment. Overgrown hedgerows can hinder the drainage of water resulting in the flooding of crops.

Towering trees remove nutrients from the soil. Trees create shade, which starves the crop of adequate sunlight resulting in lesser yields. These issues and others threaten the farmer’s bottom line. Thus, hedgerows become no more than costly obstacles.

Still to some the hedgerow is appreciated for its natural beauty and the resources that are located within them. Hunters favor these types of habitat for their variety and abundance of game. Hunters bring revenue to the state through license fees.

Ironically, some of the money collected is allocated to protecting the hunting environment.  This type of environment is a bird watcher’s paradise! There are many other reasons to consider the importance and existence of hedgerows.

New York tourism pitches the state’s colorful fall foliage which brings revenue into our region. But consider, a big part of that color is located in hedgerows. However, when you remove so many trees that same colorful foliage is removed as well!

We must consider the impact of removing these types of habitat. New York State provides protection for wetlands, but offers nothing for the preservation of hedgerows and woodlots.  Our legislature needs to address this issue. That is why I have sent copies of this letter to our state representatives. Hopefully, this concern will bring discussion to the table.

Final thought: it is understandable that we are troubled about unwanted windmills. However, we should also be just as disturbed about our disappearing countryside.

Jim Fackler