News Round-Up

Drivers of bat declines


What are the main reasons for bat population losses and recent recoveries? New research says we still don’t know enough to answer these important questions, but a range of major threats has been flagged. The evidence calls for more efforts to understand bat population losses and identifies what works in helping populations to recover.

Five of the 11 species of bat monitored in Britain are now seeing population increases, but the drivers of past losses and continuing changes remain unclear. Significant historic bat declines over the last century were blamed on agricultural intensification, loss of habitat and roosts through development and exclusion from buildings.

Today’s main threats include land use practices, climate change, pollution, development and infrastructure, and human disturbance. The new paper, published in the Mammal Society journal, Mammal Review, says evidence gaps or conflicts present barriers to successful conservation. The authors call for more focus on the impacts of climate change, urbanisation, offshore wind turbines, water pollution and their combined effects. MORE

Header image: Hugh Clark.