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

Conclusions

Pteropodid bats can reduce the harvestable yield of a wide range of fruit crops, resulting in economic losses that can be severe. However, this problem appears to be caused, and exacerbated, by continuing loss of the bats' natural food, which happens when humans clear natural forests. Lethal methods to reduce fruit crop damage are ineffective and problematic, and thus, the best solution is to implement non-lethal mitigation such as fixed nets, deterrents and decoy trees. In some instances, a combination of some or all of these non-lethal methods may be required. However, further research and trials are required for some of these methods, and these would be aided by ecological research focusing specifically on feeding behaviour and dietary preferences of those pteropodid species implicated in crop damage. In addition, there is an urgent need to educate fruit growers, authorities and the general public about the important benefits and ecosystem services provided by pteropodid bats. Such information may work best when presented in economic terms and measurements, such as cost–benefit analyses, to make it immediately relevant to economies and livelihoods.

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