Forest management can have mixed impacts on tree-roosting bats. Several bat species have benefitted from increased roost availability generated by certain silvicultural methods. To further investigate the impacts of forest management on bats, we conducted a study on the federally threatened northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) in managed forests within south-central Indiana, USA. During the summers of 2012–2015, we captured and tracked 69 female bats back to 175 roosts, for which we collected roost-scale data. We compared the frequency that roosts and random points were located in (or within 10 m of) timber harvest openings and first-stage shelterwood cuts as well as their distances to these harvest types. Female northern long-eared bats roosted in a variety of roost types in a variety of tree species. However, bats tended to roost more frequently in crevices and cavities located on live sassafras (Sassafras albidum; which were often hollow) that dominated the forest mid-story and large oaks and maples in the overstory (Quercus spp., Acer spp.). While bats used roosts that were closer to harvest openings and first-stage shelterwood cuts, they did not preferentially use or avoid roosts within these sites based on their availability. However, bats did roost within both harvest openings and shelterwood cuts. Roosts used by bats in this study area are similar to those used in other landscapes, suggesting that forest management does not affect bats’ choice of roost. Our results suggest that the roosting behavior of female northern long-eared bats are not negatively impacted by forest management, at least within these south-central Indiana forests.
- Federally threatened species
- Maternity roost
- Myotis septentrionalis
- Timber harvest
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law