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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Tillage and herbicide reduction mitigate the gap between conventional and organic farming effects on foraging activity of insectivorous bats

Published source details

Barré K., Le Viol I., Julliard R., Chiron F. & Kerbiriou C. (2018) Tillage and herbicide reduction mitigate the gap between conventional and organic farming effects on foraging activity of insectivorous bats. Ecology & Evolution, 8, 1496-1506


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Use organic farming instead of conventional farming Bat Conservation

A replicated, site comparison study in 2016 of 19 wheat fields in the Île-de-France region, France (Barré et al 2018) found that organic fields had higher activity for two of three bat species than two of three types of conventionally managed fields. Activity of Kuhl’s pipistrelle Pipistrellus kuhlii and common pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus was higher over organic tillage fields than conventional tillage fields with two herbicide applications and conventional ‘conservation tillage’ fields with three herbicide applications, but not over conventional ‘conservation tillage’ fields with two herbicide applications (data reported as statistical model results). The activity of Nathusius’ pipistrelle Pipistrellus nathusii did not differ significantly between organic fields and any of the three conventional field types. Surveys were carried out at 12 sites in two organic fields (tillage to 30 cm depth and no herbicides) and 13–18 sites in 5–7 of each of the three types of conventionally managed fields (tillage with two herbicide applications, or superficial ‘conservation tillage’ with two or three herbicide applications). Bat detectors were used to simultaneously survey 1–4 sites/treatment on each of eight nights in June 2016.

(Summarised by Anna Berthinussen)