The Relative Effects of Local and Landscape Characteristics of Hedgerows on Bats
The role of hedgerows in maintaining biodiversity in areas of intensive agriculture is well known, particularly for bats. However, few studies have addressed the importance of the intrinsic characteristics of hedgerows for bats and disentangled the relative effects of local and landscape characteristics of hedgerows on bat activity. In an acoustic survey, we assessed bat activity by recording bat calls using detectors and manually verified all calls using spectrogram analysis. The parameters used to determine local hedgerow structures were the length of the line of trees, of shrub hedgerows, of wooded hedgerows without shrubs and of hedgerows including the three strata (tree, shrub and herb) at a local scale. We assessed the influence of hedgerow structure and on bat activity with an approach considering both species and community, comparing two different scales, the local and the landscape. We highlighted the importance of hedgerow characteristics for bats on both the local and landscape scales even though responses differ between species and spatial scales. We found that the presence of trees in hedgerows exerts a generally positive influence on bat activity and that hedgerows with the three strata had lower bat activity than hedgerows with trees. In our study, some bats seemed to prefer agricultural landscapes dominated by wooded hedgerows and, on the local scale, hedgerows that include trees with little diversified among strata, except for gleaning species. Our study shows that in terms of hedgerow management, conservation efforts must be designed and undertaken on both the local and landscape scales.
Author(s): Lacoeuilhe, A; Machon, N; Julien, JF; Kerbiriou, C