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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Retain riparian buffers on agricultural land Bat Conservation

Key messages

Read our guidance on Key messages before continuing

  • One study evaluated the effects of retaining riparian buffers on agricultural land on bat 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 along waterways with buffers of vegetation on agri-environment scheme farms and waterways on conventional farms.


Supporting evidence from individual studies


A replicated, paired sites study in 2008 on 17 pairs of farms in Scotland, UK (Fuentes-Montemayor et al 2011) found that buffer strips along waterways on agri-environment scheme farms had similar activity of Pipistrellus species as the edges of waterways on conventional farms. The activity of common pipistrelles Pipistrellus pipistrellus and soprano pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus was similar along waterways with buffer strips and conventionally managed waterways (data reported as statistical model results). On agri-environment scheme farms, waterways had buffers with tall, waterside vegetation and restrictions on fertiliser, pesticides, mowing and grazing. Each of 17 waterways with buffers on agri-environment scheme farms was paired with 17 waterways on conventional farms with similar farming activities and surrounding habitats. No details are reported about waterway edges on conventional farms. Each of 13 pairs of farms was sampled once on the same night in June–September 2008. On each of 26 farms, bat activity was recorded continuously from 45 minutes after sunset using bat detectors along transects 2.5–3.7 km in length.  

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.