Landowners in Donegal are being reminded that hedge-cutting season comes to an end on February 28th.
Almost two-thirds of Ireland's bird species nest in hedges and these hedgerows provide natural corridors that permit wildlife to move between habitats.
From the end of February until the end of August, hedge-cutting is not permitted under the Wildlife Acts which recognise the importance of conserving hedgerows and other vegetation for breeding birds, other animals and plants.
Public works involving the disturbance of hedgerows during this period may only be carried out for reasons of public health and safety.
Hedgerows cover approximately 1.5% of the land area of Ireland and, based on a survey commissioned under the County Heritage Plan, there are 10,408 kilometres of hedgerows in Donegal.
Common hedgerow species in Donegal include ash, hawthorn, blackthorn, beech, eared willow, rusty willow, gorse, cotoneaster, fuchsia and privet.
The Heritage Council has produced a booklet with advice on best conservation practice and on planting native species. Copies of the booklet are available free-of-charge from the County Donegal Heritage Office on donegalcoco.ie.