We all know that mature forests are essential for many species to thrive, and even for some to survive.   Recently, however, a team from the University of Connecticut explored the impact on bats of young forests that emerge from areas that had been logged.  

Taking a cue from similar research previously conducted with birds, the team wanted to learn if there was a similar response in bats.   In birds, once they have fledged from the nest and before migrating, they tend to seek canopy gaps.  These gaps allow more sunlight which stimulates additional vegetative growth and attracts more insects.  The birds then have a greater food supply and consequently grow more quickly. 

Little Brown Bat
Image by Bernell MacDonald from Pixabay

Bats do have a related response to opportunities presented by these canopy gaps. The team discovered that within 24 hours of the logging, bats increase their activities in the young forest.  As the vegetation continues to grow in height, the bats decrease their foraging.  

This initially struck me as counterintuitive but now I understand the logic.   Both old growth and new growth play a vital role in the lives of different species.  We need them all. 

To read the original press release, check it out here:  https://today.uconn.edu/2021/07/young-forests-are-preferred-summer-vacation-destinations-for-bats/#

1 thought on “Nature In the News — New Insights about Forests and Bat Behavior

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