YES!BAT project has been developed by Dr. Laura Garzoli, biologist, in cooperation with the National Research Council – Water Research Institue (CNR-IRSA) and the Stazione Teriologica Piemontese. The project is the winner of the 2017 Young Earth Solutions (YES!) competition of the BCFN. The project deals with the environmental sustainability of rice agro-ecosystems, to promote the ecological value of these traditional landscapes.
Rice is a primary staple food, but its production involves a massive employment of pesticides that are seriously threatening the environment, human health and, in the long term, the entire agroecosystem sustainability. YES!BAT project promotes an Integrated Pest Management strategy in rice fields that, enhancing the ecosystem services provided by bats, will offer effective tools for insects pests prevention and management, while contributing to the protection of the environment and its components. It is based on the employment in rice fields of bat boxes, artificial roosts designed for encouraging bat presence in areas where there are few roosting sites and therefore for fostering their beneficial pest control service (a single bat can feed up to 1500 insect per night!). Moreover, thanks to the cooperation of the University of Milan, the project will develop a chiro-surveillance service based on molecular analyses of guano (metagenomics), to provide an early detection system for new and emerging insect pest species.
Bats are protected under several national and international regulations, because many species are nowadays facing the risk of extinction. Through dedicated events and targeted communication materials, YES!BAT project will improve the public perception of bats, which have suffered in the past for hostile behaviors due to misconceptions and superstitions, and will raise the awareness of farmers and citizens on their usefulness in our daily life.
The YES!BAT aims and goals are in line with the European strategy for the reduction and the sustainable use of pesticides.The project is a pilot and demonstrating activity that, along with the reduction of pollutants, will focus its action on the conservation and restoration of biodiversity, since biodiversity is not only the key factor to achieve a sustainable production, but also a common and fundamental value to be preserved for the entire community and for future generations. Say YES! to bats!