New publication addresses forest habitat relationships of three bat species susceptible to white-nose syndrome

Bats are an important element of forest ecosystems across North America. Since its discovery in the winter of 2006–2007 in New York state, bat mortality from white-nose syndrome (WNS), which is caused by the cold-adapted fungus Pseudogynmoascus destructans, has led to significant population declines for some once common bat species.

As a result, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has listed the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (80 FR: 17974 – 18033) and some biologists have raised questions about the status of other bat species such as the tri-colored (Perimyotis subflavus). Both of these species occur across much of the eastern US and use forests during the summer.

Recently, with support from NCASI and others, Alexander Silvis of Virginia Tech, Roger W. Perry of the U.S. Forest Service, and W. Mark Ford of the U.S. Geological Survey developed a comprehensive review and synthesis of scientific literature describing responses of northern long-eared bats and tricolored bats to forest management. The authors have also updated information in a previous review on the ecology of the endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis).

The review has been published as a USDA Forest Service General Technical Report titled Relationships of three species of bats impacted by white-nose syndrome to forest condition and management, and is available for download at http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/52250.

In the report, the authors conclude that “all three species reviewed are capable of persisting in fragmented landscapes that consist of variable mixtures of forest, agriculture, and to some extent, exurban development.” Furthermore, they indicate that “despite the ecological differences among these three species, there are a number of forest management approaches that could broadly benefit these and other bat species.”

  

Reference 

Silvis, A., R.W. Perry, and W.M. Ford. 2016. Relationships of three species of bats impacted by white-nose syndrome to forest condition and management. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report SRS–214. http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/52250