Action: Restore or create forest or woodland
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- Two studies evaluated the effects of restoring forests on bat populations. One study was in Brazil and one in Australia.
COMMUNITY RESPONSE (1 STUDY)
- Richness/diversity (1 study): One site comparison study in Brazil found that a reforested area had significantly lower bat diversity than a native forest fragment.
POPULATION RESPONSE (1 STUDY)
- Abundance (1 study): One replicated, controlled, site comparison study in Australia found that forests restored after mining had significantly higher or similar bat activity (relative abundance) as unmined forests for five of seven bat species.
BEHAVIOUR (0 STUDIES)
Restoring or creating forest and woodland may provide bats with important habitat in disturbed or fragmented landscapes.
A study that examines the effects of forest restoration in an urban area is described in ‘Threat: Residential and commercial development – Create or restore bat foraging habitats in urban areas’.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A site comparison study in 2007–2008 in two native forest fragments in southern Brazil (Gallo et al. 2010) found that a reforested area had lower bat diversity than a protected native forest fragment. In the reforested area, 105 bats of six species were captured, and in the protected forest fragment, 397 bats of 14 species were captured (diversity data reported as diversity indices). No comparisons were made before and after restoration, or with unrestored areas. Both forests consisted of native tree species. The protected forest fragment (108 ha) had been selectively logged 20 years previously. The reforested area (12 ha) had previously been cleared for agriculture and cattle grazing, and had been planted with native tree species in 2002. At each of two sites, bats were captured in eight mist nets at ground level for 6 h from sunset on two consecutive nights. Each site was surveyed four times in spring, summer, autumn and winter in 2007 or 2008.
A replicated, controlled, site comparison study in 2010–2012 of 64 restored forest sites in southwestern Australia (Burgar et al. 2017) found that restored forests had higher or similar bat activity as natural forests for five of seven bat species, and activity varied with the age of restored forest. Four bat species had similar or higher activity in young restored forest (<5 years old; average 0.3–8.3 bat passes/night) and natural unmined forest (average 0.3–15.5 bat passes/night), but lower activity in older restored forest (>10 years old; average 0.1–6.3 bat passes/night). One bat species had similar activity in older restored forest (>15 years old; average 0.6–1.1 bat passes/night) and unmined forest (average 0.9–2.5 bat passes/night), but lower activity in young restored forest (<5 years old; average 0.2–0.3 bat passes/night). Two bat species had consistently lower bat activity in all ages of restored forest (0.2–51 bat passes/night) than in unmined forest (3–68 bat passes/night). See original paper for more detailed results. All 64 sites were northern jarrah Eucalyptus marginata forest fragments. Restored sites had previously been cleared and mined. Surveys were carried out at 8–16 sites in restored forest of four different ages (0–4, 5–9, 9–14 and >15 years since restoration) and in eight natural unmined forest sites. All restored sites were >4 ha in size with at least one edge bordered by unmined forest. A bat detector was deployed for four full nights at each of 64 sites between October and March in 2010/2011 and 2011/2012.
- Gallo P.H., dos Reis N.R., Andrade F.R. & Almeida I.G. (2010) Bats (Mammalia: Chiroptera) in native and reforested areas in Rancho Alegre, Parana, Brazil. Revista de Biología Tropical, 58, 1311-1322
- Burgar J.M., Stokes V.L. & Craig M.D. (2017) Habitat features act as unidirectional and dynamic filters to bat use of production landscapes. Biological Conservation, 209, 280-288