Monitoring Bat Diversity in REDD Projects

If done well, REDD+ projects (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) may not only save carbon rich forests, but also protect embattled biodiversity. But what’s the best way to ensure both and carbon and species are preserved under REDD+, a program that proposes to pay nations to keep forests standing?

A new study authored by SEABCRU members Mark Harrison, Arjan Boonman and Matthew Struebig in Tropical Conservation Science argues that a one-size-fits-all approach to monitoring biodiversity in REDD+ projects would not only be difficult to develop, but would likely fail. In their paper the researchers directly oppose an earlier study, also in TCS, that argued for standardized biodiversity monitoring based on camera traps and acoustic monitoring of bats. While researchers admit both methods could play important roles in monitoring, they should not be wholly depended on. Regarding acoustic monitoring, the authors argue that if call identification issues in Southeast Asia can be overcome, acoustic monitoring could be very useful if it accompanied surveys in capture surveys.

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