Identifying key research objectives to make European forests greener for bats

Danilo Russo, Geoff Billington, Fabio Bontadino, Jaska Dekker, M Dietz, Suren Gazaryan, Gareth Jones, Angelika Meschede, Hugo E V Rebelo, Guido Reiter, I Ruczyński, Laurent Tillon, Peter Twisk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
595 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Bats are a biodiverse mammal order providing key ecosystem services such as pest suppression, pollination, and seed dispersal. Bats are also very sensitive to human actions, and significant declines in many bat populations have been recorded consequently. Many bat species find crucial roosting and foraging opportunities in European forests. Such forests have historically been exploited by humans and are still influenced by harvesting. One of the consequences of this pressure is the loss of key habitat resources, often making forests inhospitable to bats. Despite the legal protection granted to bats across Europe, the impacts of forestry on bats are still often neglected. Because forest exploitation influences forest structure at several spatial scales, economically viable forestry could become more sustainable and even favor bats. We highlight that a positive future for bat conservation that simultaneously benefits forestry is foreseeable, although more applied research is needed to develop sound management. Key future research topics include the detection of factors influencing the carrying capacity of forests, and determining the impacts of forest management and the economic importance of bats in forests. Predictive tools to inform forest managers are much needed, together with greater synergies between forest managers and bat conservationists.
Original languageEnglish
Article number87
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Volume4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2016

Keywords

  • bat conservation
  • Chiroptera
  • ecosystem services
  • forestry
  • pest suppression

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