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Home arrow Environment arrow Bats in the Anthropocene: Conservation of Bats in a Changing World

Research Priorities

Filling in Biogeographical Knowledge Gaps

Although the effects of habitat conversion and management have been well investigated in Europe and the Neotropics, the extent to which these processes may differ in other regions of the world remains unknown. We highlight a particular lack of knowledge from Africa and Asia; we did not find any studies from East Asia, although we suspect information exists in the Chinese language literature. Understanding the types and magnitudes of ecosystem services provided by bats in a variety of agricultural systems and regions is particularly important.

Linking Farm Management, Ecosystem Services, and Landscape-Level Processes

The effects of farm-level management on biodiversity and ecosystem services cannot be adequately considered without taking account of landscape-level processes (Tscharntke et al. 2005; Vickery and Arlettaz 2012). Nevertheless, the extent to which localand landscape-level management interact to shape pest suppression or pollination services is largely uninvestigated. The effect of bats in limiting arthropod pests in agricultural areas is still poorly documented. However, the limited data that exist can demonstrate a vexing degree of divergence in results. For example, bats in Mexican shade coffee have substantial effects on herbivorous insects (Williams-Guillén et al. 2008), while bats in Costa Rican shade coffee had no significant effect on herbivores (Karp et al. 2013). In Indonesian cacao agroforestry systems, insectivorous bats strongly contribute to the suppression of many different pest insect groups and crop yield productivity across gradients of local shadetree management and forest proximity within the agricultural landscape (Maas et al. 2013). In general, the study sites differ in landscape structure and land use, local farm history and management, habitat dynamics and conversion, intensity of farming practices, and vertebrate insectivore assemblage structure. Elucidating the factors of bat ecosystem service provision is key to managing agricultural areas to sustain bat populations and enhance food production (Maas et al. 2015).

 
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