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Hedgerows are linear landscape features composed of shrubs and trees representing over 4% of the national land area with a length of 689,000 km (Green et al., 2019).  While past Irish studies have not directly measured carbon stocks through destructive sampling of hedgerow biomass, a previous assessment into the carbon sink potential indicated potential to sequester between 0.5–2.7 tCO2/ha/year (Black et al., 2014). Direct measurements of hedgerow biomass are required to quantify carbon stock changes for National greenhouse gas reporting for the Land Use Land Use Change and Forestry sector.


  • Quantify the carbon stock of biomass from selected hedgerows. Soil organic, deadwood and litter carbon stocks will also be measured to develop carbon flow models.
  • Development biomass functions based on volume measurements captured using 3D digital surface models.
  • Develop a model to incorporate the land use mitigation potential associated with hedgerows into existing C-model for off-setting at farm scale.
  • Development of an integrated scorecard for assessment along with best management practices (BMP) for carbon and other ecosystem services will be developed.

Study design:

Selected sites will represent a range of management and age classes. Derive 3D digital surface models (DSM) using an unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV) to assess volume.  Litter traps placed at sites to collect litter fall while destructive sampling commenced in November 2020 to capture carbon pools shown below. 

Expected outputs and outcomes

  • Allometric equations to convert volume to biomass to inform biomass carbon stock changes over time.
  • Greater understanding of the land use mitigation potential of hedgerows in Irish agriculture.
  • An integrated scorecard to rapidly assess hedgerows for carbon and other ecosystem services
  • A decision support tool for best management practices.

Project Timeline: 2020-2022

Lead Partner: Teagasc  Project partners: Fers Ltd.

Teagasc contacts:

Lilian O’Sullivan 

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Black, et al. (2014) Carbon Sequestration by Hedgerows in the Irish Landscape. CCRP report, EPA Climate Change Research Programme 2007–2013. pp58.

Green et al. (2020) BRIAR: Biomass Retrieval in Ireland Using Active Remote Sensing (2014-CCRP-MS.17) EPA RESEARCH PROGRAMME 2014–2020, pp41