Hedgehogs, Erinaceus europaeus, are a woodland edge species that also make use of hedgerows and suburban gardens. The State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2018 report, from People’s Trust for Endangered Species and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, says Britain has lost half its hedgehogs in less than two decades. The main causes are habitat loss and lack of landscape-scale connectivity.
Woodland edge and hedgerow destruction and poor management are major contributing factors in hedgehog decline, causing habitat loss and reducing macroinvertebrates available for food. The use of pesticides on farmland and garden plots can have detrimental impacts on hedgehogs and their food supply. In urban areas the use of impermeable fencing, loss of compost heaps and increasing development are other major issues.
Supporting hedgehog survival
With Henry Johnson from the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, we looked at the above problems for hedgehogs in the mammal issue of our Wood Wise publication. We also looked to offer solutions and actions we can all take to save our spiny friends.
We have three key aims: protect, restore and create trees, hedgerows and woods. For the benefit of wildlife and people, we protect and/or restore over 1,200 woods in our care. We work with landowners to plant trees and create new woodland. We also promote the retention, planting and good management of hedgerows, which allows species like hedgehogs to move freely through the landscape and provides them sources of food.