Action Synopsis: Bat Conservation About Actions

Plant field margins with a diverse mix of plant species

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study evaluated the effects of planting field margins with a diverse mix of plant species on bats populations. The study was in the UK.



  • Abundance (1 study): One replicated, site comparison study in the UK found that the activity (relative abundance) of soprano pipistrelles and barbastelle bats increased with a greater diversity of plant species within field margins, but there was no effect on common pipistrelle activity nor on the occurrence of any of the six bat species studied.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A replicated, site comparison study in 2017 on 15 farms in south west England, UK (McHugh et al 2019) found that field margins planted with a greater diversity of plant species were associated with higher activity of two of three bat species but there was no effect on bat occurrence. Activity of soprano pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus and barbastelle bats Barbastella barbastellus increased with plant diversity within field margins, but there was no effect on the occurrence of either species (data reported as statistical model results). There was no effect on the activity or occurrence of common pipistrelles Pipistrellus pipistrellus, nor on the occurrence of three other bat species or species groups (serotine bats Eptesicus serotinus, noctule bats Nyctalus noctula, Myotis spp.). Dicot cover and flowering plant abundance had positive effects on bat activity and occurrence (see original paper for details). Four types of field margins were surveyed on agri-environment scheme farms: grass margins (14 farms), wildflower margins (eight farms), wild bird seed plots (15 farms), pollen and nectar plots (11 farms). Each of the 48 field margins was surveyed with bat detectors for three consecutive nights on three occasions in April–September 2017.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Berthinussen, A., Richardson O.C. and Altringham J.D. (2021) Bat Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions. Conservation Evidence Series Synopses. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.


Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

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Bat Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Bat Conservation
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