New chance to Romanian bats Completion of the proposed Sites of Community Interest in Romania with chiropterological data, 2009-2010

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The project was conducted by Romanian Bat Protection Association between December 2009 and October 2010, funded by Finland (Ministry of Environment) and the United Kingdom (The Wildlife and Species Conservation Devision of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - DEFRA).

The Habitats Directive of the EU gives new opportunities for the protection of bats in Romania, since all 13 bat species listed in the Annex II of the directive occur in the Romanian fauna. Romania with an important biodiversity, extensive areas with natural and semi-natural habitats, traditional landscapes and more than 13.000 caves hosts important bat populations.

An efficient Natura 2000 network including the most important bat roosts and key habitats and a proper management will contribute to assure a favourable conservation status to the Romanian bat populations. In 2007 the Romanian Government, with the implication of many non-governmental organizations and scientific institutions elaborated a proposal with 273 Sites of Community Interest to be included in the European Natura 2000 network.

57 of the proposed sites contain bat species beside other species and habitats of community interest. Due to the present project, it became possible to complete the list of the species with other bat species from the Annex II of the Habitats Directive in case of 34 sites. After the biogeographical seminars held in Sibiu (Romania) 9-12 June 2008, the Romanian Government has the obligation to propose more sites in case of some habitat types and species, a process which will be finalised this year.

In the case of 54 new proposed sites, bat species are present and play an important role in the elaboration of the proposals. If these sites will be accepted and, in the future will benefit a proper administration and management, these actions could be classified as important steps in the conservation of the Romanian bat populations.