Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Agroforestry systems conserve species-rich but modified assemblages of tropical birds and bats

Published source details

Harvey C. & González V.J. (2007) Agroforestry systems conserve species-rich but modified assemblages of tropical birds and bats. Biodiversity and Conservation, 16, 2257-2292


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Encourage agroforestry Bat Conservation

A replicated, site comparison study in 2002–2003 in tropical lowland forest and plantations in Talamanca, Costa Rica (Harvey & González 2007) found significantly higher bat diversity and a greater number of bat species in cacao agroforestry systems than in native forest (diversity index of 2.22 vs. 2.03, 15 vs. 13 species respectively).  Bat diversity and the number of bat species did not differ significantly between banana agroforestry plantations (diversity index of 2.19, 14 species) and native forest. Plantain monocultures were found to have significantly lower bat diversity and number of bat species (diversity index of 1.72, 10 species) than both agroforestry systems and native forest. Bat abundance did not vary significantly between forest, plantain monoculture, banana or cacao agroforestry systems (47, 83, 76 and 89 bats captured respectively). Both agroforestry systems were grown organically with a shade canopy of native trees or planted fruit and timber trees. Plantain monocultures were grown in patches of a similar size without shade and with the use of chemicals such as insecticides. Thirty-five sites were selected including seven replicates each of forest, plantain monoculture and banana agroforestry, and 14 replicates of cacao agroforestry. Bats were sampled with mist nets for a total of 20 mist net hours per site per night from May 2002 to November 2003.