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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Response of northern bats (Myotis septentrionalis) to prescribed fires in eastern Kentucky forests

Published source details

Lacki M.J., Cox D.R., Dodd L.E. & Dickinson M.B. (2009) Response of northern bats (Myotis septentrionalis) to prescribed fires in eastern Kentucky forests. Journal of Mammalogy, 90, 1165-1175

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Use prescribed burning Bat Conservation

A replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in 2006–2007 of three mixed forest sites in Kentucky, USA (Lacki et al. 2009) found that burned forest had more female northern myotis Myotis septentrionalis roosts than unburned forest, and home ranges were closer to burned than unburned forest. Following prescribed fires, more female northern myotis bat roosts were in burned forest (26 roosts, 74%) than unburned forest (nine roosts, 26%), although no statistical tests were carried out. The average size of home ranges and core areas did not vary significantly between bats radio-tracked before (home range: 60 ha; core area: 11 ha) and after fires (home range: 72 ha; core area 14 ha), but home ranges were closer to burned habitats than unburned habitats following fires. Two sites (435 ha, 185 ha) that were previously unburned were subject to prescribed burning in April 2007, with 54% of the area burned. A third site (2,400 ha) was left unburned. Bats were captured in June–July 2006 and April–September 2007 using mist nets over ponds in burned and unburned sites. Eighteen female bats were radio-tracked nightly for an average of six days.

(Summarised by Anna Berthinussen)