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The Forest Service Publishes a Plan for the North American Bat Monitoring Program

Photo of Cluster of little brown bats roosting in cave. Tim Krynak, U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceCluster of little brown bats roosting in cave. Tim Krynak, U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceSnapshot : A new Forest Service report provides detailed guidelines for participating in the plan, an international multiagency program created to provide the data needed to make effective decisions about bat populations across the North American continent.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Loeb, Susan C. 
Research Location : Nationwide
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2015
Highlight ID : 927


North American bats face unprecedented risks from continuing and emerging threats, but until the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat) was established, there were no nation-wide programs for monitoring bat populations.

A new Forest Service report titled A Plan for the North American Bat Monitoring Program, or NABat, provides the details needed for interested groups, agencies, and the public to start monitoring and contributing data to the centralized database. The lead author of the report is Susan Loeb, a research ecologist at the Forest Service‚ÄĚs Southern Research Station Upland Hardwoods Unit.

NABat will use four approaches to gather monitoring data: hibernaculum counts made of bat populations in caves and mines in winter; counts of bats in maternity colonies in summer; mobile acoustic surveys along road transects; and, acoustic surveys at stationary points.

The plan provides guidelines for each approach, including how and when to estimate clusters of bats for population counts in caves, how to locate maternity colonies, how to collect acoustic data and identify bat species from calls recorded on detectors, how to minimize environmental impacts from monitoring, and much more.

In addition to the chapters on monitoring methods, the report includes detailed chapters on the sampling design, the database management system, and statistical approaches that can be used to analyze the data collected by NABat.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • National Park Service
  • Bat Conservation International
  • Canadian Wildlife Service
  • National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • Wildlife Conservation Society-Canada

Program Areas