Plant riparian buffer strips
Overall effectiveness category Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Uncultivated strips of vegetation at the edge of waterways are often used to help reduce pollution entering the water within agricultural and forestry systems. These buffer strips may therefore help to protect riparian foraging habitats for bats.
For a similar intervention, see ‘Prevent pollution from agricultural land or forestry from entering watercourses’. See also ‘Threat: Biological resource use – Logging & wood harvesting – Retain or restore buffers around watercourses in logged areas’ for studies that retain riparian buffers as habitat for bats.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, paired sites study in 2008 on 17 pairs of farms in Scotland, UK (Fuentes-Montemayor et al 2011) found that buffer strips along waterways on agri-environment scheme farms had similar activity of Pipistrellus species as the edges of waterways on conventional farms. The activity of common pipistrelles Pipistrellus pipistrellus and soprano pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus was similar along waterways with buffer strips and conventionally managed waterways (data reported as statistical model results). On agri-environment scheme farms, waterways had buffers with tall, waterside vegetation and restrictions on fertiliser, pesticides, mowing and grazing. Each of 17 waterways with buffers on agri-environment scheme farms was paired with 17 waterways on conventional farms with similar farming activities and surrounding habitats. No details are reported about waterway edges on conventional farms. Each of 13 pairs of farms was sampled once on the same night in June–September 2008. On each of 26 farms, bat activity was recorded continuously from 45 minutes after sunset using bat detectors along transects 2.5–3.7 km in length.Study and other actions tested