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A Landscape Model for Predicting Roost Habitat of the Endangered Indiana Bat in the Southern Appalachians

Photo of Indiana bat. Caroline Byrne, Indiana State University.Indiana bat. Caroline Byrne, Indiana State University.Snapshot : The endangered Indiana bat commonly roosts in yellow pines in the Southern Appalachians. Forest Service scientists at the agency’s Southern Research Station developed a landscape model that predicts roosting habitat based on topographic features and forest type. The model will assist managers in developing appropriate forest management practices to aid in the recovery of this species.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Loeb, Susan C. 
Research Location : Nantahala National Forest, Cherokee National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2016
Highlight ID : 1076

Summary

The Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) was listed as endangered in 1967 due to destruction and disturbance of its winter hibernacula as well as loss of its summer maternity roosting habitat. In many parts of its range, the Indiana bat is being further threatened by white-nose syndrome, a devastating fungal disease that is affecting cave hibernating bats. In the southern Appalachian Mountains, Indiana bats' roosts are widely distributed across the forested landscape, which makes protecting individual roosts impractical during large-scale management activities such as prescribed fire. To help conserve the species, Forest Service scientists at the agency’s Southern Research Station developed a landscape model that managers can use to predict where Indiana bats are most likely to roost. The model predicts that forested areas that are predominantly pine and located at elevations between 850 feet and 1,880 feet in elevation, and on the upper portions of south-facing slopes, are the best areas for Indiana bat roosts in southeast Tennessee and southwest North Carolina. Use of this model will allow managers to identify important Indiana bat summer roosting areas as well as factors that are important to roost habitat selection. Use of this model is also proactive in that it will facilitate management for future habitat through the identification of important environmental conditions.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Cherokee National Forest
  • Nantahala National Forest
  • Indiana State University
  • U.S. National Park Service

Strategic
Program Areas

Priority
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