Hedgerows for Hedgehogs and Ecological Health: An Assessment of Easter Bush Campus

Emily Norris

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

Abstract / Description of output

The University of Edinburgh has recently published a biodiversity plan to promote and protect campus biodiversity, promote habitat interconnections and increase human engagement with wildlife on campus. Commitment to the Hedgehog Friendly Campus scheme is part of this plan. Both hedgerows and the Western European Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) have been in decline over the last fifty years and are included in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. This study explores how hedgerows have historically been managed on the Easter Bush campus, their current presence and state of health and how their management could be improved for wildlife, using the hedgehog as a focal point. The literature reviews presented here summarise current understanding of the benefits of hedgerows in the landscape and value of hedgerows to hedgehogs. A computer-based study using historical mapping from 1890-present and QGIS established the history of the site and informed the surveying of 34 boundaries. Finally, to search for hedgehogs 29 footprint tunnels and five camera traps were placed and a night spotlight survey undertaken. Current literature shows hedgerows supply essential services to the ecosystem, protecting livestock and crops, reducing flooding and providing valuable resources to wildlife, as well as contributing to human health. Hedgehogs rely on the hedgerows for protection, nesting, food sources and dispersal, protecting against extinctions. Since 1890 there have been significant changes on the campus, notably a 2604% increase in building area. Across the campus there were very few hedgerows in good condition and only 4.5% of the total boundary length surveyed was solely hedgerow. No hedgehogs were detected by any method. This paper provides a snapshot of the state of the hedgerow matrix at Easter Bush and makes recommendations on how to improve the hedgerows, improving connectivity, biodiversity and health.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Cousquer, Glen, Supervisor
  • Lurz, Peter, Supervisor
Award date31 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Hedgehogs
  • Hedgehog Friendly Campus
  • Hedgerows


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