24th September 2010
The National Bat Monitoring Programme's annual report shows that for the majority of the bat species studied populations appear to be stable or increasing.
The National Bat Monitoring Programme (NBMP) produces bat population trends for 11 of the UK's 17 resident bat species. The data, collected by volunteers, has shown that since 1997, seven bat species have shown some indication of a population increase. The other 4 bat species examined in the NBMP currently appear stable but more data is needed to better understand some fluctuations. However whilst these are positive results, it is likely that bat populations still have not recovered from the significant historical declines they suffered in the 20th century.
The NBMP has a network of nearly 5000 sites and thousands of volunteers taking part in bat surveys gathering. These volunteers provide the information needed to identify changes in the bat populations that are of conservation concern. Volunteers take part in Field, Waterway, Hibernation Surveys and Colony Counts at maternity roosts where mothers congregate to rear their young. Newer monitoring techniques are also being used which involve the use of broadband bat detectors to record a range of species along roadsides, woodland transects and around lakes.
NBMP surveys and data contribute to UK government biodiversity monitoring and reporting obligations including UK Biodiversity Action Plan, the Habitats Directive and the national report to EUROBATS. In 2008, NBMP data were used to develop a composite index of widespread bat populations, which was incorporated into the UK biodiversity indicators which help measure progress towards the Government's target of halting biodiversity loss by 2010. NBMP contributes data to the National Biodiversity Network. Data are also used to support various research initiatives including the BICCO-Net project.
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