About the project

In Central and Eastern Europe, some bat species listed in the Annexes of the EU Habitats Directive are threatened by deteriorating environmental conditions. The availability of roosts is decreasing, and the distances between roosts and feeding grounds are increasing. Fragmentation of the landscape and disappearance of tree and shrub lines, which create commuting routes, limit possibilities of safe movement.

Artificial lighting from street lamps and spotlights interferes with a safe flight from shelters, as well as adversely affects food availability. Additionally, human presence causes disturbance in underground sites such as caves, which bats use for both breeding and winter hibernation.

The lesser horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros) was chosen as the flagship species for the project because it is found throughout the whole project area and connected with the history of successful conservation measures, the extent of which is widely known and accepted by the public.

Objective 1: Protection and improvement of conditions of the important roosts for nine bat species
  • improvement of maternity and hibernation roosts of 18 Natura 2000 sites in four countries
  • improvement of bat habitat conditions including mainly foraging areas in 6 sites of Natura 2000 in Poland and Slovakia
  • reducing conflicts between humans and bats in four countries
Objective 2: Change from a reactive to a proactive approach to the protection of bats
  • creation of habitats that meet the year-round needs of endangered bat species in areas free of spatial barriers and not exposed to negative anthropogenic influences (large, dense forest areas)
  • providing alternative roosts for species that require flight space in occupied buildings (lesser horseshoe bat, Geoffroy’s bat, greater mouse-eared bat) in the vicinity of ten endangered breeding colonies in Poland
  • creation of 36 new roosts and improvement of habitat conditions at 10 roosts in Slovakia
  • providing opportunities for bat populations to expand into new areas
  • creation of appropriate conditions for the biological dispersal of breeding colonies
Objective 3: Enhancement of institutional support for bat conservation
  • gaining public acceptance and stimulating public expectations of proactive measures for bat conservation
  • increasing the awareness and knowledge of people who have contact with bats at their work, and whose decisions may impact bat conservation
  • expanding on the knowledge and skills of individuals and institutions working for the protection of bats
  • promoting comprehensive compensation solutions based on real environmental needs, and mitigating the impact and effects on bats caused by investments
  • incorporation of various financial instruments into small however important local actions
  • stimulating the continuation and duplication of the project activities
  • Myotis myotis
  • Myotis emarginatus
  • Miniopterus schreibersii
  • Myotis bechsteinii
  • Myotis capaccinii
  • Rhinolophus mehelyi
  • Rhinolophus hipposideros
  • Rhinolophus euryale
  • Barbastella barbastellus
The project will be implemented in the following countries and regions:
  • Poland – Dolnośląskie, Opolskie, Małopolskie, Śląskie, Podkarpackie
  • Czech Republic – Stredni Morava, Severovychod
  • Romania – Sud-Vest Oltenia, Vest 
  • Slovakia – Stredne Slovensko, Vychodne Slovensko
  • PTPP pro Natura“ (Polskie Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Przyrody „pro Natura“), Poland (coordinator)
  • DGLP (Dyrekcja Generalna Lasów Państwowych), Poland
  • ČESON (Česká společnost pro ochranu netopýrů), Czech Republic
  • CCCL (Asociația Centrul pentru Cercetarea și Conservarea Liliecilor), Romania
  • SON (Spoločnosť pre ochranu netopierov na Slovensku), Slovakia
  • Project reference: LIFE20 NAT/PL/001427
  • Project acronym: LIFE+ PODKOWIEC TOWERS
  • Duration: 01/10/2021 – 30/09/2026
  • Total project budget: 4 924 974 Euro 
  • EU financial contribution: 2 954 984 Euro
  • NFOŚiGW financial contribution: 1 656 349 Euro