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Open AccessArticle

Decrease in Bat Diversity Points towards a Potential Threshold Density for Black Cherry Management: A Case Study from Germany

Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern, Altenbergrain 21, 3013 Bern, Switzerland
Plants 2019, 8(9), 320; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants8090320
Received: 23 July 2019 / Revised: 14 August 2019 / Accepted: 28 August 2019 / Published: 2 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Invasive Plants)

In times of land use changes towards more close-to-nature forestry, the application of bioindicators becomes an interesting tool for effective land-use management schemes. Forest managers are increasingly confronted by alien tree species. Therefore, this case study aimed to investigate the influence of the invasive black cherry (Prunus serotina) on bats (Chiroptera: Verpertilionidae) in pine (Pinus sylvestris) forest ecosystems, in order to identify the potential of bats as bioindicators for a black cherry invasion. In three pre-classified succession stages of the black cherry, the diversity and relative abundance of bats were bioacoustically monitored for a period of 60 nights. From the bat call recordings made during the study period, eight bat species could be identified to species level. Within the succession stages of pine monoculture and light black cherry forest, a comparable bat diversity of eight bat species and three sonotypes with a similar relative abundance were observed. In dense black cherry forest, only four species and one sonotype were detected. Compared to the pine monoculture and light black cherry forest, the overall abundance of the bat community was significantly lower in the dense black cherry forest. Upon evaluation, those bat species associated with the edge and narrow space forager guilds were found to have a high sensitivity to a dense black cherry understory within naturally monocultural pine stands. Their activity patterns indicate that the transition from light to dense black cherry understory can be considered as a potential threshold value for a close-to-nature black cherry understory density in high canopy pine forest stands. View Full-Text
Keywords: bioacoustic monitoring; bats; biological indicators; invasive species; sustainable forestry; close-to-nature forest management; nature conservation; Prunus serotina Ehrh.; Chiroptera; Pipistrellus spp.; Myotis spp.; Plecotus spp. bioacoustic monitoring; bats; biological indicators; invasive species; sustainable forestry; close-to-nature forest management; nature conservation; Prunus serotina Ehrh.; Chiroptera; Pipistrellus spp.; Myotis spp.; Plecotus spp.
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Geschke, J. Decrease in Bat Diversity Points towards a Potential Threshold Density for Black Cherry Management: A Case Study from Germany. Plants 2019, 8, 320.

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