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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Retain unmown field margins Bat Conservation

Key messages

Read our guidance on Key messages before continuing

  • One study evaluated the effects of retaining unmown field margins on bats populations. The study was in the UK.



  • Abundance (1 study): One replicated, paired sites study in the UK found that pipistrelle activity (relative abundance) did not differ between unmown field margins managed for wildlife on agri-environment scheme farms and field margins on conventional farms.


Supporting evidence from individual studies


A replicated, paired sites study in 2008 on 15 pairs of farms in Scotland, UK (Fuentes-Montemayor et al 2011) found that unmown field margins on agri-environment scheme farms had similar activity of Pipistrellus species as field margins on conventional farms. The activity of common pipistrelles Pipistrellus pipistrellus and soprano pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus was similar along unmown and conventionally managed field margins (data reported as statistical model results). On agri-environment scheme farms, field margins were planted with a mix of grass seeds and had restrictions on fertiliser, pesticides and grazing. Each of 15 field margins on agri-environment scheme farms was paired with 15 field margins on conventional farms with similar farming activities and surrounding habitats. Field margins (measured on five pairs of farms) were wider and had taller vegetation on agri-environment scheme farms (average 6 m wide, 2.4 m tall) than conventional farms (average 2 m wide, 2 m tall). Each of 15 pairs of farms was sampled once on the same night in June–September 2008. Bat activity was recorded along transects (2.5–3.7 km long) from 45 minutes after sunset using bat detectors.

Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Berthinussen, A., Richardson O.C. and Altringham J.D. (2019) Bat Conservation. Pages 67-140 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.