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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Bat boxes in urban non-native forests: a popular practice that should be reconsidered

Published source details

López-Baucells A., Puig-Montserrat X., Torre I., Freixas L., Mas M., Arrizabalaga A. & Flaquer C. (2017) Bat boxes in urban non-native forests: a popular practice that should be reconsidered. Urban Ecosystems, 20, 217-225


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Provide bat boxes for roosting bats Bat Conservation

A randomized, replicated, site comparison study in 2004–2012 in five pine forests in Spain (López-Baucells et al. 2017) found that bat boxes were used by three bat species with an overall occupancy rate of 15% over nine years. During 1,659 bat box inspections, 255 bat boxes were found to be occupied. Leisler’s bat Nyctalus leisleri was found in 29 of 200 bat boxes (15%) in groups of 1–11 individuals. Pipistrellus spp. (soprano pipistrelle Pipistrellus pygmaeus and Kuhl’s pipistrelle Pipistrellus kuhlii) were found in 39 of 200 bat boxes (20%), either breeding or alone (1–5 bats). Bat box occupancy rates increased with forest cover and distance from human settlements (data reported as statistical model results). Two hundred open-sided wooden bat boxes (10 cm deep x 19 cm wide x 200 cm high) were randomly installed on trees between 2003 and 2005 in clusters of 3–5 boxes in five pine forests. Boxes were placed 4 m above the ground with randomly chosen orientations. Annual box checks were carried out in each of nine years between 2004 and 2012 in summer and/or autumn.

(Summarised by Anna Berthinussen)