Insectivorous bats and silviculture: Balancing timber production and bat conservation

Bradley Law, Kirsty J. Park, Michael J. Lacki

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Forests are one of the most important habitats for insectivorous bats as they offer the potential for both roosting and foraging. We reviewed silvicultural literature from North America, Australia, and Europe and found that diverse research approaches have revealed commonalities in bat responses to forest silviculture. Almost all silvicultural treatments evaluated were compatible with some use by forest bats, though different bat ensembles respond in different ways. Ensemble ecomorphology was a consistent predictor of how bats respond to vegetative clutter and its dynamic changes as forests regenerate and develop a dense structure following harvesting. Sustaining high levels of bat diversity in timber production forests requires a mix of silvicultural treatments and exclusion areas staggered across the landscape, regardless of forest type or geographic region. Use of edge habitats, exclusion areas/set-asides, and riparian corridors for roosting and foraging by bats were consistent themes in the literature reviewed, and these habitat elements need to be considered in forest planning. Densities of hollow or dead trees sufficient to support large populations of roosting bats are unknown and remain a major knowledge gap, but will likely be species contingent. New paradigm shifts in forest management away from the use of even-aged systems to multi-spatial scale retention of mature forest including trees with cavities should be beneficial to bats, which are influenced by landscape-scale management. Such an approach is already in use in some regions, though there is a limited guidance on what constitutes a reasonable landscape threshold for retention. The effectiveness of such an approach will require long-term monitoring and research, especially with population studies which are currently lacking.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBats in the Anthropocene
Subtitle of host publicationConservation of Bats in a Changing World
Number of pages46
ISBN (Electronic)9783319252209
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2016.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)
  • Environmental Science (all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Insectivorous bats and silviculture: Balancing timber production and bat conservation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this