Climate change poses major threats to biological communities and the ecosystem services they provide.
Bats are sensitive to human-driven habitat alteration, and changes in temperature and water availability induced by climate change may affect their distribution and survival.
Climate change is therefore likely to influence European bat populations and, by affecting insect consumption by bats in farmland, forests and urban areas, there are likely to be serious consequences for both conservation and the economy. However, little scientific work has addressed this issue, so we lack the knowledge to devise mitigation strategies.
The Action fills this gap by pursuing the following objectives:
1) Define, predict and quantify the effects of climate change on bats across Europe (WG1), establishing how bats react to different climatic conditions, assessing the current magnitude of this impact, forecasting its future effects, and establishing the roles played by life history traits and environmental factors.
2) Establish strategies to develop a network to monitor and predict changes in bat distribution and inform future management and policy (WG2). This will be achieved by selecting the best monitoring approaches, identifying a set of responsive bat species acting as indicators, and facilitating co-operation between scientists and relevant stakeholders.
3) Evaluate the effects of climate change on insect consumption provided by bats in farmland (WG3) by: a) estimating the importance of this ecosystem service across Europe for the agricultural economy and society; and b) modelling scenarios of mismatches between the distribution of bats and their pest prey under future climate change, evaluating the economic consequences of these mismatches.