Bat colony size reduction coincides with clear-fell harvest operations and high rates of roost loss in plantation forest

Borkin, Kerry M., O'Donnell, Colin, & Parsons, Stuart (2011) Bat colony size reduction coincides with clear-fell harvest operations and high rates of roost loss in plantation forest. Biodiversity and Conservation, 20(14), pp. 3537-3548.

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Clear-fell harvest of forest concerns many wildlife biologists because of loss of vital resources such as roosts or nests, and effects on population viability. However, actual impact has not been quantified. Using New Zealand long-tailed bats (Chalinolobus tuberculatus) as a model species we investigated impacts of clear-fell logging on bats in plantation forest. C. tuberculatus roost within the oldest stands in plantation forest so it was likely roost availability would decrease as harvest operations occurred. We predicted that post-harvest: (1) roosting range sizes would be smaller, (2) fewer roosts would be used, and (3) colony size would be smaller. We captured and radiotracked C. tuberculatus to day-roosts in Kinleith Forest, an exotic plantation forest, over three southern hemisphere summers (Season 1 October 2006–March 2007; Season 2 November 2007–March 2008; and Season 3 November 2008–March 2009). Individual roosting ranges (100% MCPs) post harvest were smaller than those in areas that had not been harvested, and declined in area during the 3 years. Following harvest, bats used fewer roosts than those in areas that had not been harvested. Over 3 years 20.7% of known roosts were lost: 14.5% due to forestry operations and 6.2% due to natural tree fall. Median colony size was 4.0 bats (IQR = 2.0–8.0) and declined during the study, probably because of locally high levels of roost loss. Post harvest colonies were smaller than colonies in areas that had not been harvested. Together, these results suggest the impact of clear-fell harvest on long-tailed bat populations is negative.

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8 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 79745
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Chalinolobus tuberculatus, Clear-fell harvest, Colony, Logging, Production forest, Roost loss
DOI: 10.1007/s10531-011-0144-7
ISSN: 1572-9710
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Deposited On: 06 Jan 2015 02:39
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2015 05:01

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