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Growing bigger prickly hedges can reduce the chance of extreme weather - and a lot more

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In highlighting how Britain lost half its hedgerow network in only 75 years following the post-WWII move to modernise farming, a recent report from the Council for the Protection of Rural England points out how hedgerows can reduce climate warming by naturally helping to remove CO₂ from the atmosphere.

Simply allowing existing hedges to get bigger could double overall carbon sequestration capacity (the process of capturing and storing atmospheric CO₂). The build-up of “greenhouse” gasses such as CO₂ causes the atmosphere to warm, which in turn increases the likelihood and severity of extreme weather events, such as flooding, wildfires and hurricanes.

The CPRE argue that a 40% increase in the UK’s hedgerow cover could provide a net CO₂ sequestration potential of 18.5 million tonnes. That may be a fraction of current UK CO₂ emissions 354 million tonnes in 2019, but the potential contribution to the climate problem is significant.

As ecologists we have to worry about many things: invasive species, habitat loss, overexploitation and pollution. But climate change is the big one.

Plants naturally capture carbon during the process of photosynthesis, the process of producing food for the plant to survive. The ability to couple CO₂ with water and generate sugar using solar energy is the most remarkable and important event in........

© The Conversation

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