There are 45 species of bats in the European Union. They occur in a wide range of habitats, including forests, garrigues, urban environments and agricultural land.
Although generally widespread, bats are threatened and vulnerable to habitat change and roost disturbance in several EU Member States. In addition, there are still persistent misunderstandings and prejudices arising from ignorance about bats and their habits. As a result of these impacts, many species are threatened; some have even become extinct in a number of countries.
From an ecological perspective, bats are a good ecological indicator as they are sensitive to very slight changes in their environment. Such responses can be useful in revealing habitat fragmentation, ecosystem stress or changing habitat use, resulting, for instance, from the intensification of agriculture or forestry as well as from various other human activities.
This EU Multi-Species Action Plan (MSAP) covers all bat species occurring in the EU. Its aim is to support the development of national or local action plans and implementation of conservation measures. In particular, it aims to:
Provide baseline data on the status of the species in the EU;
- Provide scientifically-based recommendations to promote and support their conservation;
- Establish priorities in bat species conservation;
- Provide a common framework for a wide range of stakeholders.
The MSAP has been prepared and in consultation with EUROBATS and nominated experts from all EU countries following an extensive review of existing literature up until 2015. In the course of the preparation of the document several meetings and consultations with bat experts were held in order to analyse the threats facing the species, develop a conservation strategy and identify the most important actions.
The MSAP provides a summary of the ecology, distribution, status and threats of the bat species in the EU and offers a series of recommended targets and actions for their conservation to guide Member States in the choice of conservation efforts at national, regional or local level.