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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Create or maintain small dams to provide foraging and drinking habitat for bats Bat Conservation

Key messages

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  • One study evaluated the effects of maintaining small dams as foraging and drinking habitat for bats on bat populations. The study was in Portugal.



  • Abundance (1 study): One replicated, site comparison study in Portugal found that reservoirs created using small dams had greater activity (relative abundance) of four bat species than the streams feeding into them.


Supporting evidence from individual studies


A replicated, site comparison study in 2011 at five dams in northeast Portugal (Hintze et al 2016) found that dam reservoirs had significantly greater foraging and drinking activity of four bat species than the streams feeding into them. The bat species were common pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus, Kuhl’s pipistrelle Pipistrellus kuhlii, Daubenton’s bat Myotis daubentonii and European free-tailed bat Tadarida teniotis (data reported as results of statistical models). Mixed results were reported for six other bat species but numbers were too low for statistical analysis. Dam reservoirs varied in size from 50,000 to 280,000 m2. All streams had annual average flow rates of 100–300 mm and similar riparian vegetation. At each of five dams, bat activity was recorded using bat detectors at four sampling points (the upstream and downstream sides of both the dam and stream). Each point was randomly sampled on three nights (for three hours from sunset) between July and October 2011 with one stream and one dam point sampled simultaneously.

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.