16th September 2011

The State of the UK's Bats is published today by the Bat Conservation Trust, showing some positive trends from the UK's longest running programme of mammal monitoring, the National Bat Monitoring Programme (NBMP). Running since 1997 the National Bat Monitoring Programme the monitors 11 of the UK's 18 bat species, with the latest results suggesting populations are increasing for five bat species and stable for another six species. Dr Kate Barlow, NBMP Development Manager explains "It is good to see that none of the bat populations monitored appear to be decreasing. However bat populations have suffered severe losses last century and while these positive trends could be an early indication that bat conservation is having an impact, there is a long way to go to make up for losses."

Scientists caution against drawing conclusions from results at this stage Dr Kate Barlow warns: "This is not the whole story, the population trends of three of the species, Natterer's bat, greater horseshoe bat, and soprano pipistrelle, are not entirely clear. More information is needed before we can fully understand how these bat populations are faring."

The information has been collated by a volunteer force of over 2000 people who count bats in a number of different surveys. The insight the results provide on bat populations is being used to better understand how bats use our landscape and to provide practical recommendations on how landscapes can be improved for bats. Research using the data has included mapping where bats are found in relation to location of woodland, this showed that in habitats where there is currently little woodland, creating even small patches of broadleaved woodland (provided it was no more than 50m apart) would benefit a number of bat species.

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