Logo LIFE

Quirópteros/Castilla León - Priority actions to protect bats in Castilla y León Communitary interesting zones

LIFE96 NAT/E/003081


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version  
 

Contact details:

Project Manager: José Angel ARRANZ
Tel: 34 83 411988
Fax: 34 83 411999
Email: Jose-Angel.Arranz@dgmn.cmaot.jcyl.es



Project description:

Background

Bats are amongst the most endangered groups of mammals on the European continent, to such an extent that over the past decades certain species have disappeared from large sections of their former range. The region of Castilla y León hosts 24 of the 25 species found on the Iberian Peninsula, all protected under national law, and ten of which are included in Annex II of the Habitats Directive. Although the general trend of bat populations is downward, there are considerable differences in the extent of scientific knowledge on the various species.

The principal threats to bat populations are the loss and degeneration of habitats and the risks inherent to the existence of small and fragmented populations. Habitat degeneration is mainly due to infrastructure works, direct human disturbance of colonies, forestry practices incompatible with bat conservation and environmental pollution, in particular from insecticides and herbicides which have a double impact on bat populations - reduction of available prey and toxicological effects from the accumulation of chemicals ingested by eating contaminated prey.


Objectives

The project mainly focused on urgent actions for the conservation of bats in the Castilla y León region. These included the protection of existing bat quarters and shelters and the creation of new ones in sites of Community interest, as well as the identification and description of new areas of interest for bats for their inclusion in the Natura 2000 network. In parallel, awareness campaigns were planned that targeted the local community, with the aim to convince them of the biological value of bats and their usefulness as insect-eaters.


Results

Thanks to the project, the knowledge about bat species at the regional level was considerably increased, especially concerning cave-dwelling species. Some of the most outstanding project results include:

  • The inventory and distribution atlas of bats in the region of Castilla y León, including detailed cartography, was one of the main products obtained. This was the basis for the designation of all the important refuges for bats in the region as pSCIs, with their exact location, threats and protection needs being identified. This is a valuable tool that enables the rapid supply of information to prevent negative effects on bat populations that could arise from planning projects (e.g. restoration of old buildings, closure of caves or old mines and opening of new climbing routes) or other potentially damaging activities.
  • Six of the most important refuges for cave-dwelling species were protected during the project, and the beneficiary’s intention was to continue with the protection of the rest of refuges classified as ‘important’ and to implement other conservation measures identified.
  • The adequacy of artificial refuges for forest-dwelling bat species was tested and about 5.000 were installed in places of Community interest. The results obtained showed that this measure was effective for the protection of forest-dwelling bats, and proved the total suitability of the design developed for the refuges. The beneficiary’s intention was to continue this measure after the LIFE project.
  • The social outcome of this project was also very important. The local population was invited to collaborate in the location of refuges, whilst it was also necessary to raise their awareness on the value of these animals and the importance of the ecological role they play, for instance as insect-eaters. Nice, good quality information material was produced (e.g. a video, a leaflet, posters and stickers) which contributed to the achievement of this objective.
  • The integration of bat conservation into other socio-economic activities was also addressed, and the frequent use of human infrastructures by bats was tackled. For instance, a negotiation on management of abandoned railway lines took place with the National Railways Company, and the restoration of historic buildings (e.g. churches and convents) and sites (Royal Gardens of ‘La Granja’) in keeping with the bat conservation needs was discussed with the National Heritage Authority (‘Patrimonio Nacional’), which even contributed financially.
  • This project represented an important incentive for the government of Castilla y León to dedicate resources for the conservation of bats. The beneficiary’s intention was to consolidate bat conservation measures within their overall conservation policy, and promote that other institutions and private owners take care of the bat populations existing in human-made constructions. Regarding the continuity of the project measures, the first priority was to ensure the maintenance of the 6 refuges protected within the project and continue with the protection of the rest of the 39 refuges classified as ‘important’. Since the existing knowledge of the distribution of forest-dwelling species is still scarce, and most efforts were dedicated to cave-dwelling species in this project, the beneficiary itself pointed at the need to develop a specific methodology, including radio-tracking, for these species. Innovative solutions should be also applied, such as compensation to owners of buildings that host bat populations. Finally, awareness raising should be continued.


    Top


Environmental issues addressed:

Themes

Species - Mammals
Information - Governance - Awareness raising - Information


Keywords

nature conservation‚  ecological assessment‚  endangered species‚  protected area‚  cartography‚  public awareness campaign


Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...

Target species

 Barbastella barbastellus   Miniopterus schreibersii   Myotis bechsteinii   Myotis blythii   Myotis daubentonii   Myotis emarginatus   Myotis myotis   Pipistrellus pipistrellus   Plecotus austriacus   Rhinolophus euryale   Rhinolophus ferrumequinum   Rhinolophus hipposideros   Rhinolophus mehelyi     


Target Habitat types

  • 8310 - Caves not open to the public

Natura 2000 sites

SCI ES4110002 SIERRA DE GREDOS
SCI ES4130038 SIERRA DE LA ENCINA DE LA LASTRA
SCI ES4160043 CUEVA DE LOS MURCIÉLAGOS
SCI ES4190074 RIBERAS DEL RÍO ALISTE Y AFLUENTES
SCI ES4110115 VALLE DEL TIÉTAR
SCI ES4130149 OMAÑA
SCI ES4150096 ARRIBES DEL DUERO
SCI ES4160109 SIERRA DE GUADARRAMA
SCI ES4170119 SIERRA DEL MONCAYO
SCI ES4170135 CAÑÓN DE RÍO LOBOS


Top


Beneficiaries:

Coordinator Junta de Castilla y León, Cons. de Medio Ambiente y Ordenación del Territorio
Type of organisation Regional authority
Description The beneficiary was the regional government of Castilla y León. Regional authorities, in Spain, are responsible for the implementation of nature protection policies and protected areas planning and management.

Top




Project reference LIFE96 NAT/E/003081
Duration 01-JAN-1997 to 31-DEC -2000
Total budget 296,175.87 €
EU contribution 148,087.94 €
Project location Castilla-León(España)

Top


Read more:

Publication: Technical report Title: 'Inventory of refuges and distribution atlas of bats in Castilla y León' (two volumes, 33 maps) Author: Jesús Fernández Gutiérrez Year: 2001 Editor: Junta de Castilla y León
Publication: Technical report Title: 'Implementation of priority actions for the protection of bats in Castilla y León' Author: Jesús Benzal (Natural History Museum, CSIC) Year: 2000 Editor: Junta de Castilla y León
Publication: Technical report Title: 'Plan for the protection of the most important refuges for bats in Castilla y León, and for favouring the most important forestry species through the installation of artificial refuges' Author: Jesús Benzal (Natural History Museum, CSIC) Year: 1999 Editor: Junta de Castilla y León

Top

Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version