Poor effectiveness of Natura 2000 beech forests in protecting forest-dwelling bats

  • Published source details Zehetmair T., Müller J., Runkel V., Stahlschmidt P., Winter S., Zharov A. & Gruppe A. (2015) Poor effectiveness of Natura 2000 beech forests in protecting forest-dwelling bats. Journal for Nature Conservation, 23, 53-60.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Legally protect bat habitats

Action Link
Bat Conservation
  1. Legally protect bat habitats

    A replicated, paired sites study in 2011–2012 in 11 managed beech Fagus sylvatica forests in Germany, Austria, France and the UK (Zehetmair et al 2015) found that legally protected forests had higher activity for one of 20 bat species than unprotected forests, but overall bat activity and the number of bat species was similar between protected and unprotected forests. The number of common noctule Nyctalus noctula calls was higher in protected (141 calls) than unprotected forests (18 calls). However, the difference was not significant for 19 other bat species (see original paper for detailed results) or the number of bat calls recorded overall (protected forests: 1,223 calls; unprotected forests: 1,995 calls). The same was true for species richness (17 bat species recorded in both protected and unprotected forests). Surveys were conducted in 11 pairs of forest (one protected, one unprotected) managed for timber production. Protected forests were part of the Natura 2000 network. All stands were >10 ha with trees 80–120 years old and had a similar number of roost trees and volume of snags. Bat activity was recorded with bat detectors at eight locations per stand during one full night in May or July in 2011 or 2012.

    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

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