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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Welsh Assembly Government Contract 183/2007/08 to Undertake Agri-environment Monitoring and Services. Lot 2 – Species Monitoring. Final report: October 2012

Published source details

MacDonald M.A., Morris A.J., Dodd S., Johnstone I., Beresford A., Angell R., Haysom K., Langton S., Tordoff G., Brereton T., Hobson R., Shellswell C., Hutchinson N., Dines T., Wilberforce E.M., Parry R. & Matthews V. (2012) Welsh Assembly Government Contract 183/2007/08 to Undertake Agri-environment Monitoring and Services. Lot 2 – Species Monitoring. Final report: October 2012.


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

Legally protect bat habitats Bat Conservation

A replicated, site comparison study in 2009–2012 of 80 rivers on farms in Wales, UK (MacDonald et al 2012) found that rivers in protected areas had higher activity of Daubenton’s bats Myotis daubentonii than rivers in unprotected areas, but the activity of soprano pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus did not differ between protected and unprotected areas. The average number of bat passes/year for Daubenton’s bats was significantly higher over rivers in protected areas on both agri-environment farms (2.3 bat passes) and conventional farms (3.3 bat passes) than rivers in unprotected areas on agri-environment scheme farms (1.6 bat passes) and conventional farms (2.3 bat passes). A similar number of bat passes/year were recorded over rivers in protected and unprotected areas for soprano pipistrelles (data not reported). Surveys were carried out at 46 protected rivers (26 on agri-environment scheme farms, 20 on conventional farms) and 34 unprotected rivers (14 on agri-environment scheme farms, 20 20 on conventional farms). Protected areas were designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest. No details are reported about the origin of the rivers; water may have originated from outside the protected area. One transect survey was carried out along each river in August and September in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

(Summarised by Anna Berthinussen)

Introduce agri-environment schemes Bat Conservation

A replicated, paired sites study in 2009–2011 of 40–60 pairs of farms in Wales, UK (MacDonald et al 2012) found that there was no significant difference in the activity of six bat species on agri-environment scheme farms and non-participating conventional farms. The average number of bat passes/year was similar on agri-environment scheme farms and conventional farms for common pipistrelles Pipistrellus pipistrellus (agri-environment scheme: 3–7, conventional: 4–6), soprano pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus (agri-environment scheme: 5–9,  conventional: 5–8), common noctules Nyctalus noctula (agri-environment scheme: 0.2–3, conventional: 0.3–4), Daubenton’s bats Myotis daubentonii (agri-environment scheme: 16–27, conventional: 17–20), greater horseshoe bats Rhinolophus ferrumequinum (agri-environment scheme: 3, conventional: 4) and lesser horseshoe bats Rhinolophus hipposideros (agri-environment scheme: 5, conventional: 6). Pairs of agri-environment scheme and conventional farms were 2–20 km apart and matched by size, altitude, soil type, and farming system. Field transects were carried out at 60 pairs of farms, waterway transects at 40 pairs of farms, and static field surveys at 45 pairs of farms. Surveys were carried out once or twice/year between June and September in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

(Summarised by Anna Berthinussen)

Use organic farming instead of conventional farming Bat Conservation

A replicated, site comparison study in 2009–2011 of 5–13 organic and 10–30 non-organic farms in Wales, UK (MacDonald et al 2012) found that rivers on organic farms had significantly higher activity of Daubenton’s bats Myotis daubentonii than rivers on non-organic farms, but the activity of five other bat species in fields and along hedgerows did not differ between organic and non-organic farms. The average number of bat passes for Daubenton’s bats was significantly higher over rivers on organic farms than non-organic farms (data reported as statistical model results). However, a similar number of bat passes/year were recorded on organic and non-organic farms for common pipistrelles Pipistrellus pipistrellus, soprano pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus, common noctules Nyctalus noctula, greater horseshoe bats Rhinolophus ferrumequinum and lesser horseshoe bats Rhinolophus hipposideros (data reported as statistical model results). Organic farms were part of an organic farming scheme. The number of farms included in the analysis varied for each bat species from 5–13 for organic and 10–30 for non-organic farms. Some farms (organic and non-organic) were also part of agri-environment schemes. No details are reported about the origin of the rivers; water may have originated from outside of the farms. Transects or static detector surveys were carried out at each farm once or twice/year between June and September in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

(Summarised by Anna Berthinussen)