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Open AccessArticle

Does Thinning Homogenous and Dense Regrowth Benefit Bats? Radio-Tracking, Ultrasonic Detection and Trapping

1
Forest Science Unit, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Parramatta, NSW 2124, Australia
2
Wildlife Research Center, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8203, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2018, 10(2), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10020045
Received: 11 April 2018 / Revised: 30 May 2018 / Accepted: 2 June 2018 / Published: 6 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Conservation of Bats)
Renewal ecology promotes the creation and enhancement of landscapes that support biodiversity and ecosystem services for humans. Silvicultural thinning of forest regrowth to reduce tree competition represents a form of active management that may also benefit biodiversity, especially where secondary regrowth dominates. However, ecological responses to thinning can be complex, particularly for insectivorous bats whose ecomorphology is often related to vegetation structure. Furthermore, thinning may affect multiple aspects of bat ecology (i.e., roosting and foraging). We assessed this in dense white cypress regrowth in the Pilliga forests of New South Wales, Australia, where recent experimental thinning created thinned stands (4 × 12 ha) surrounded by unthinned regrowth. We contrasted flight activity and roost selection of three narrow-space species with differing conservation statuses (Nyctophilus corbeni, N. gouldi and N. geoffroyi), plus one edge-space species (Vespadelus vulturnus). Radio-tracking over two maternity seasons revealed a preference by all species for roosting in dead trees that were slightly larger than the mean for available dead trees in the vicinity. Although all tagged bats were caught in thinned patches, only 6% of roosts were located there. In contrast, ultrasonic detectors recorded significantly greater activity for V. vulturnus (p = 0.05) in thinned than unthinned patches and no treatment difference for Nyctophilus spp. Systematic trapping using acoustic lures found a higher trap rate for N. gouldi in unthinned than thinned treatments, but no treatment effect for N. corbeni, N. geoffroyi and V. vulturnus. Our results reveal differential use of forest treatments by multiple species, emphasising the value of heterogeneous landscapes supporting thinned and unthinned patches of dense regrowth. View Full-Text
Keywords: thinning; roosting; foraging; clutter; acoustic lure; Pilliga; cypress thinning; roosting; foraging; clutter; acoustic lure; Pilliga; cypress
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Law, B.; Gonsalves, L.; Brassil, T.; Hill, D. Does Thinning Homogenous and Dense Regrowth Benefit Bats? Radio-Tracking, Ultrasonic Detection and Trapping. Diversity 2018, 10, 45.

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