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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Pipistrelle bats and their prey do not benefit from four widely applied agri-environment management prescriptions

Published source details

Fuentes-Montemayor E., Goulson D. & Park K. (2011) Pipistrelle bats and their prey do not benefit from four widely applied agri-environment management prescriptions. Biological Conservation, 144, 2233-2246


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Retain unmown field margins Bat Conservation

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.

(Summarised by Anna Berthinussen)

Introduce agri-environment schemes Bat Conservation

A replicated, paired sites study in 2008 on 18 pairs of farms in Scotland, UK (Fuentes-Montemayor et al 2011) found that agri-environment scheme farms had lower overall bat activity and foraging activity than non-participating conventional farms. Overall bat activity and foraging activity were significantly lower on agri-environment scheme farms (total 790 bat passes, 37 feeding buzzes) than conventional farms (total 1,175 bat passes, 85 feeding buzzes). The same was true for the two most frequently recorded bat species: common pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus (agri-environment scheme farms: 159 bat passes; conventional farms: 312 bat passes) and soprano pipistrelle Pipistrellus pygmaeus (agri-environment scheme farms: 537 bat passes; conventional farms: 734 bat passes). Eighteen farms participating in the Scottish Rural Stewardship Scheme since 2004 were paired with nearby conventionally managed farms of a similar size and with similar farming activities. Each of 18 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.

(Summarised by Anna Berthinussen)

Manage hedges to benefit bats Bat Conservation

A replicated, paired sites study in 2008 on 13 pairs of farms in Scotland, UK (Fuentes-Montemayor et al 2011) found that hedges managed for wildlife on agri-environment scheme farms had similar activity of Pipistrellus species as hedges on conventional farms. The activity of common pipistrelles Pipistrellus pipistrellus and soprano pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus was similar along hedges managed for wildlife and along conventionally managed hedges (data reported as statistical model results). On agri-environment scheme farms, hedges had gaps filled, hedge bottoms were left unmown, and pesticide use and cutting was restricted (cut once every three years). Each of 13 hedges on agri-environment scheme farms were paired with 13 hedges on conventional farms with similar farming activities and surrounding habitats. No details are reported about the management of hedges on conventional farms. Each of 13 paired sites 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.

(Summarised by Anna Berthinussen)

Plant riparian buffer strips Bat Conservation

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.

(Summarised by Anna Berthinussen)

Restore or create grassland Bat Conservation

A replicated, paired sites study in 2008 on 16 pairs of farms in Scotland, UK (Fuentes-Montemayor et al 2011) found that grassland created on agri-environment scheme farms had similar activity of Pipistrellus species as improved pasture or crop fields on conventional farms. The activity of common pipistrelles Pipistrellus pipistrellus and soprano pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus was similar over species-rich grassland on agri-environment farms and improved pasture or crop fields on conventional farms (data reported as statistical model results). On agri-environment scheme farms, pasture or crop fields had been converted to grassland by sowing with a low productivity grass and herb mix and restricting fertiliser, pesticides, mowing and grazing. Each of 16 species-rich grasslands on agri-environment scheme farms were paired with 16 pastures or crop fields on conventional farms with similar farming activities and surrounding habitats. Each of 16 pairs of farms was sampled once on the same night in June–September 2008. At each of 32 sites, bat activity was recorded continuously from 45 minutes after sunset using bat detectors along transects 2.5–3.7 km in length.

(Summarised by Anna Berthinussen)