BCT convenes the annual UK Bat Steering Group meeting, with representatives attending from the Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Forestry Commission, Environment Agency, National Trust, Vincent Wildlife Trust, Historic England and academia. Each year we choose a current topic and invite relevant guest speakers.
The topic for the 2020 meeting was bats and climate change and included presentations on:
- Climate Change and the Natural Environment;
- Woodland, Bats and Climate Change;
- The Objectives and Structure of COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Action on Bats and Climate Change;
- Bats and Climate Change Research; and
- A Research Round Up.
From the day it became clear that climate change is impacting differently on the east and west of the UK. There is likely to be movement north of species ranges, making the UK potentially very important for some European species. Movement could see new communities of bats and potential for competitive interaction. There will also be changes in insect prey/pest and bat relationships. In all of this the landscape and land management changes and connectivity will be important as stressors or opportunities. Raising awareness and working together on this will be of vital importance. This theme was further explored in the 2020 National Bat Conference.
The topic for the 2019 meeting was how to maximise the use of new technologies for bat surveys. The theme of new technologies was further explored at BCT's Conservation and Technology Conference in September 2019. During this meeting, some of the barriers identified to the uptake of new technologies were the availability of information, guidance and training on each type. As an output from the meeting we have produced a table of new technologies for bat surveys including how different technologies can be applied to bat surveys, their pros/cons and sources of guidance and training.