I found this article on Mother Earth News (when I was looking for something to test if there are any special link functions, there don’t appear to be any.)
This topic is very interesting to me, because I am not crazy about any styles of fencing, and it is the sort of thing I dread having to do. While this is labor intensive to start, it seems that it would be much more valuable, especially in this windy area than conventional fencing, and birds always want somewhere to nest. Like the idea of being able to cut them back and just leaving it on the ground for food.
“A living fence is a permanent hedge tight enough and tough enough to serve almost any of the functions of a manufactured fence, but it offers agricultural and biological services a manufactured fence cannot. For instance, it provides “edge habitat” that supports ecological diversity. As more species (insects, spiders, toads, snakes, birds and mammals) find food and refuge in this habitat, natural balances emerge, yielding, for example, a reduction of rodents and crop-damaging insect populations.
Depending on the plant or tree species you choose, living fences can provide food and medicine or fodder for your livestock. Your animals will also enjoy the shade of a dense hedge. The foliage of some hedge plants, such as elder and Chinese chestnut, contains more protein than the quintessential protein forage crop, alfalfa. Willow and honey locust also make good fodder. I’ve been experimenting with Siberian pea shrub recently, as the peas can be harvested to feed poultry.”