Date:June 29, 2013

Forest Bats

One of the most significant threats to the region’s bat diversity is  habitat loss. Relative deforestation rates in Southeast Asia are the  highest of any tropical region, and as much as 74% of forests may be  lost by the end of the century. Ecomorphological constraints restrict a  substantial component of the region’s bat fauna to intact stands of  forest for foraging, with many restricted still further by their  roosting ecology. Consequently, deforestation is expected to result in  regional species losses > 40% and global extirpation losses of c. 23%  of species by 2100.

Research Need and Justification: Few areas of intact  forest in Southeast Asia have been intensively surveyed with the  complement of capture methods needed to fully assess the diversity, and  even fewer studies have explored the response of bats to land use change  and fragmentation. Given the rapid rate of forest loss in Southeast  Asia, standardized bat diversity surveys of intact forest blocks and  assessments of survival in anthropogenic landscapes are urgently needed.

Global Actions: (1) Intensive, standardized surveys  of intact forest ecosystems identify high diversity areas; (2)  assessments of the response of forest-dependent bats to land-use change.

Needs Assessment: (1) Workshops to train researchers  in methods for evaluating the diversity of forest-dwelling bats in  intact and disturbed systems (harp traps, mist nets, acoustic  monitoring) and standardized experimental designs; (2) centralized  spatially explicit database with online data capture.

Projected Outputs: (1) Identification of high  diversity forests most in need of protection (based on diversity,  population size, presence of endemic or Red-listed species in  combination with the degree of threat to the system); (2) identification  of land-uses and land-use configurations that maximize forest-bat  diversity in anthropogenic landscapes.