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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Bat activity and species richness on organic and conventional farms: impact of agricultural intensification

Published source details

Wickramasinghe L.P., Harris S., Jones G. & Vaughan N. (2003) Bat activity and species richness on organic and conventional farms: impact of agricultural intensification. Journal of Applied Ecology, 40, 984-993


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Use organic farming instead of conventional farming Bat Conservation

A replicated, paired sites study in 2000–2002 on 24 pairs of farms in southern England and Wales, UK (Wickramasinghe et al 2003) found that water habitats on organic farms had higher activity for two of 11 bat species than on conventional farms, but bat activity did not differ in pasture, arable or woodland habitats, and a similar number of bat species was recorded on both farm types. The activity of Brandt’s bats Myotis brandtii and Bechstein’s bats Myotis bechsteinii was significantly higher over water habitats on organic farms (Brandt’s bat: 66 bat passes; Bechstein’s bat: 7 bat passes) than on conventional farms (Brandt’s bat: 2 bat passes; Bechstein’s bat: 0 bat passes). Bat activity did not differ in pasture, arable or woodland habitats, or for any other bat species, between organic and conventional farms. A similar number of species was recorded on organic (14 species) and conventional farms (11 species). Certified organic farms (established 1–2 years) were paired with nearby conventional farms with similar habitats (pasture, arable, water and woodland), size and type of business. No details are reported about the type or origin of water habitats; water may have originated from outside of the farms. Each of 48 farms was surveyed with bat detectors rotated between three random points for an hour and a half from one hour after sunset. Two farms within a pair were sampled on consecutive nights in June–September 2000 or 2002.