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 Hedgelaying in the Ontario Landscape (HOL)


In 2013 a team from the University of Waterloo, (headed up by Professors Stephen Quilley, Dan McCarthy and Stephen Murphy, with PhD Candidate Perin Ruttonsha), together with partners in southern Ontario and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, began working together to examine landscape planning and management practices within the Greater Golden Horseshoe, using hedgerows and hedgelaying, with reference to broader themes including place-making, collective stewardship, agro-ecology and resilience. Three pilot plantings at Mount Wolfe Farm, Albion Hills Community Farm, and a private property in Inglewood were undertaken.

In 2018-19 the project continues, to explore the uses of hedgerows,  hedgelaying and rural skills in scoio-ecological contexts. Jim Jones, Visiting Scientist at the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience and an ecologist, hedgelayer and green woodworker from the UK, is working with the project offering advice and delivering workshops on hedgerows, hedgelaying and other traditional rural skills and acting us a 'curator' of this new space.  

Project Partners:

More recent project partners include Credit Valley Conservation

'HOL' Projects
Experimental Hedge Planting

The HOL project is developing more experimental hedgerow plantings in a variety of locations and contexts through-out the Ontario Landscape to emphasise the suite of services provided by these features.

Hedgerows in Peri-Urban Landscape Management

The project team is conducting a policy review exploring the use of hedgerows in the management of peri-urban landscapes and near-urban agriculture.

Ontario Rural Skills Network (ORSN)

The HOL project is building on the hedgelaying demonstrations undertaken in 2016 by  developing a series of small craft-scale, traditional woodland management and production activities as revenue streams in terms of both products and training/leisure services. These will include greenwood work/bodging, basket making, scything, coppicing, pollarding, bow making, and artisan charcoal making.

As well as revenue streams in their own right for small CSA- type enterprises, such activities are important for any transitional development of a more active culture of landscape management and a portfolio of countryside activities which integrate higher value-added local food production with craft product, leisure, recreation and education.

The project is seeking funding to scale out the ORSN initiative to other CSA-type farms in the Ontario Landscape.

Storytelling and the Rural Commons

Common land or community-owned space is rare in Ontario but offers opportunities for environmental stewardship, building co-operative governance structures, developing place-based identities through shared storytelling. The HOL project is developing a case study based at Mount Wolfe Farm combining hedgerows, storytelling and traditional celebrations of the agricultural year.


Do you have a hedgerow in need of management? We need hedgerows to teach hedgelaying workshops! Visit the ORSN Hedgelaying Page here to see if your hedgerow qualifies and get in touch! 

The Rejuvenation of Hedgerows in North America

Jones et al (In Prep)

In this paper we review the North American scientific literature on hedgerows from the 1700s to the present day and discuss emerging themes and directions. We also report on (i) the Hedgelaying in the Ontario Landscape initiative at the University of Waterloo which has initiated hedgerow planting and management workshops to better understand how we might responsibly nurture socio-ecological novelty within settled regions and (ii) the recent inauguration of the North American Hedgerow Society following hedgelaying workshops in Ithaca where there is significant interest in hedgerows as an agroforestry tool at the Cornell University and amongst local small-scale farmers in New York State and nearby Vermont.

Provisional results were presented at the International Association of Landscape Ecology-North America (IALE_NA) on May 11th 2020. 

Contact Information
For further information and updates on the HOL project please contact:
Jim Jones 
Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation & Resilience
University of Waterloo


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