Until recently, the majority of ecological research on microchiropteran bats, and in particular vespertilionids in temperate parts of the world, was biased towards species and situations where aggregations occurred in human-made structures (buildings and mines). However, significant progress has been made to address questions about the ecology of temperate, insect-eating bats living in more "natural" situations. Even so, our knowledge about how bats use and interact with forest ecosystems is still in its infancy. In the last five years, intrinsic interest and concern about the impacts of timber harvest and forest management has stimulated various studies of bats in forest ecosystems. Studies of bats have also become a focus for a variety of agencies, especially those who are mandated to manage natural resources on public lands. Therefore, we felt it was appropriate to convene a symposium bringing together biologists, foresters, and land managers with an interest in bat?forest interactions to determine where we stand and to try to identify some common questions for further study. Our original idea was to have a small meeting. It quickly became apparent that there was interest from all over the continent, and indeed other parts of the world. The ??small?? meeting expanded to include over 100 participants and we could not accommodate everyone interested in attending. On the one hand, we were amazed and impressed by the number and diversity of people who were interested in the topic, but on the other we were disappointed that we had to turn some people away. This volume presents the results of the symposium that took place from October 19?21, 1995 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. In all, 24 speakers gave presentations and there were three poster papers. We received manuscripts from the authors of almost all the papers, and they appear in this volume. In general, the presentations can be subdivided on the basis of what are acknowledged to be the two most important resources for bats: roost sites and foraging areas. The three presentations at the beginning of the meeting were by individuals with forestry and/or wildlife expertise. These papers were designed to set the stage from a broad perspective. It became clear that forest management issues are complex and can be controversial. The message to biologists studying bats is that we have to be prepared to make recommendations about the best way to manage forests, knowing that our understanding of the complexity of the system is incomplete and that modifications may be necessary as more information becomes available. A recurring theme was emphasized by Brad Stelfox: bats have large home ranges for their size and travel considerable distances between roosts and foraging areas. This means that bats link habitats together, and we need to keep in mind the potential ecological and management implications of this. We need to know, for example, at what scale bats view the landscape. Our focus tends to be in terms of smaller scales, but given the movement patterns of bats they may well view things at the landscape scale, and this has important implications regarding the recommendations we make. What follows is our impression of some of the important themes to come out of the symposium, with respect to the biology of bats in forest ecosystems, and where further work should be focused. This represents our opinions, although these were certainly modified and shaped during the excellent, two-hour discussion session at the conclusion of the formal part of the meeting. It speaks highly of the interest and dedication of those who attended this session that after eight hours of presentations and with a hot meal in the offing, most participants spent over two hours trying to bring everything together.
Barclay, R. M.R., Brigham, R.M.. 1996. Bats and forests symposium: October 19-21,1995 Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Working Paper (FLNRORD). WP23
Topic: FLNRORD Research Program
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