Bats and men – sharing LIFE under one roof

LIFE Program project of EU

Insect pests are a major problem in agriculture and forestry. All European bat species are insectivorous; they can eat up to 80–100 % of their body mass in insects every. In this respect, one of the most important ecosystem services of insectivorous bats is the control of pest insects. Attracting bats to farms can make a significant difference to organic farmers who want to use natural biological insect control and fertilisers, for example, by installing artificial roosts. Another ecosystem service provided by bats is their guano which is a very effective natural fertilizer. Restoring livestock watering ponds in agricultural areas improves access to water for many species and attracts insects that form the bats’ diet, including mosquitoes which spread diseases of humans and livestock. Improving knowledge and changing the attitude of local communities towards bats also provides an opportunity for ecotourism development.

LIFE UNDER ONE ROOF aims to improve the conservation status of nine bat species listed in the Habitats Directive (Annexes II and IV), in eight key Natura 2000 network sites in Bulgaria. The project will enhance and maintain bat habitats for breeding, hibernating, roosting and foraging, and will address the threat of disturbance during the most sensitive lifecycle stages. Project actions will include creating bat houses and bricks to increase roosting opportunities, restoring livestock watering places to benefit foraging bats, and guarding bat colonies during sensitive breeding and hibernation periods. The project aims to colonies during sensitive breeding and hibernation periods. The project aims to raise public awareness, positively change attitudes towards bats, build capacity for bat protection by involving more professional and volunteer conservationists, and highlight the economic benefits of bats for insect pest control. It will also produce an inventory containing up-to-date information on the population status of bat species and their habitats. In addition to directly implementing the Habitats Directive, the project helps implement the Bern Convention, the EU Water Framework Directive, Biodiversity Strategy, Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES), and the Action Plan for the Conservation of Bat Species in the EU.

  • At least a 10 % increase in the populations of the nine target bat species in eight key Natura 2000 sites in Bulgaria;
  • Enhanced roosting, breeding and hibernating habitats of the target bat species with 560 new bat roosts (bat houses and bricks) in the project area;
  • Improved water conditions at 84 ‘biodiversity hotspot’ bat foraging sites;
  • Increased breeding success and winter survival of the target bat species;
  • At least a 15 % increase in the number of people with positive attitudes towards bats in the project area;
  • Educational activities reach at least 2 000 members of local communities, and 150 amateur or professional speleologists, local businesses managers, farmers, local authority administrators and nature conservation organisation employees;
  • At least 75 volunteers, students and speleologists trained in bat conservation, with many of these then actively involved in the project and its follow up activities;
  • Publication of a guide and a book on bat conservation, and construction of information boards along main roads in Bulgaria;
  • Improved coordination and experience sharing between bat conservationists in the EU; and
  • Transfer and replication of project outcomes to at least one new area with similar conservation problems and threats.
  • Barbastella barbastellus
  • Miniopterus schreibersii
  • Myotis bechsteinii
  • Myotis blythii
  • Myotis capaccinii
  • Myotis myotis
  • Rhinolophus blasii
  • Rhinolophus mehelyi

Coordinator beneficiary: Fortis Visio Ltd

Associated beneficiary: Science for Nature Foundation

Project reference: LIFE17 NAT/BG/000602
Duration: 01-AUG-2018 to 31-JUL -2023
Total budget: 939,752.00 €
EU contribution: 560,251.00 €