PUBLIC RELEASE: 1-JUN-2015
US Forest Service publishes plan for North American Bat Monitoring Program
New report provides detailed guidelines for data collection
USDA FOREST SERVICE ‑ SOUTHERN RESEARCH STATION
ASHEVILLE, NC — A report just published online by the Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) provides detailed guidelines for participating in the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat), an international multiagency program created to provide the data needed to make effective decisions about bat populations across the North American continent.
Susan Loeb, SRS research ecologist, served as lead author on A Plan for the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat), which represents the first step in establishing the NABat monitoring program for bats in North America.
North American bats face unprecedented risks from continuing and emerging threats including habitat loss and fragmentation, white-nose syndrome (WNS), wind energy development, and climate change. The fungal disease WNS has killed millions of bats since it was first detected in 2006, and well over a million bats have been killed at wind energy facilities since 2000. The continuing spread of WNS, fatalities at wind energy developments across the continent, and intensified land use changes have pressed the need for a continent-wide standardized monitoring system.
The goal of NABat is to provide natural resource managers the information they need to manage bat populations effectively, detect early warning signs of population declines, and estimate extinction risks.
“There is an urgent need to document changes in bat populations in response to WNS, wind energy development, climate change, and habitat loss, as well as to assess management activities aimed at mitigating these threats,” says Loeb. “Though monitoring programs have been developed for birds and other animals, until now, there has not been a similar program to monitor bats in North America. The NABat plan provides the details needed for interested groups, agencies, and the public to start monitoring and contributing data to a centralized database.”
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