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Guidelines to Minimize Risk of White-Nose Syndrome to Bats through Forest Management

Photo of A colony of tri-colored bats roosting in dead pine needles within a live pine tree during summer. Tri-colored bats are one of three species declining due to white-nose syndrome. S. Andrew Carter, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.A colony of tri-colored bats roosting in dead pine needles within a live pine tree during summer. Tri-colored bats are one of three species declining due to white-nose syndrome. S. Andrew Carter, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Snapshot : During the course of forest operations, managers make many choices on the timing and method of improvements. The results of these choices affect habitat for wildlife, including bats. Understanding the relationships between bats and forest habitat provides direction to make forest operations choices that minimize a disease risk for bats.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Perry, Roger W. 
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2016
Highlight ID : 1092

Summary

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a fungal disease of bats that was recently introduced from Eurasia. This fatal disease infects bats while they hibernate in caves and abandoned mines; some bat species that were common and thriving now face significant population declines or extinction. Forest Service scientists at the agency’s Southern Research Station and their collaborators recently published a review of the forest ecology of the three bat species most affected by WNS: the Indiana bat, the northern long-eared bat, and the tri-colored bat. This review focuses on the response of bats to common forest management practices and provides guidelines for forest managers to improve habitat for these bats to offset population declines caused by disease. Although bat species have different roost and foraging preferences, they are all greatly threatened by WNS and could benefit from targeted forest management tactics. The report concludes with examples of management practices that could be implemented to improve roosting and foraging habitat for these bats, which could help mitigate the damaging effects of WNS.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Alex Silvis, Virginia Tech University
  • W. Mark Ford, U.S. Geological Service

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