Publication Details

Northern Long-Eared Bat (Myotis septentrionalis) Day-Roost Loss in the Central Appalachian Mountains following Prescribed Burning

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Ford, W. Mark; Johnson, Joshua B.; Thomas-Van Gundy, Melissa

Year Published

2021

Publication

International Journal of Forestry Research

Abstract

Before the arrival of white-nose syndrome in North America, the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) was a common cavity-roosting bat species in central Appalachian hardwood forests. Two successive prescribed burns on the Fernow Experimental Forest, West Virginia, in 2008 and 2009, were shown to positively affect maternity colony day-roost availability and condition in the near-term. However, whether immediate benefits were temporary and if burned forests actually experienced an accelerated loss of trees and snags possibly suitable for bats more than background loss in unburned forests became an important question following the species' threatened designation. In 2016, we revisited 81 of 113 northern long-eared bat maternity colony day-roosts initially discovered in 2007–2009 with the objective of ascertaining if these trees and snags were still standing and thus potentially "available" for bat use. Initial tree or snag stage condition class and original year of discovery were contributory factors determining availability by 2016, whereas exposure to prescribed fire and tree/snag species decay resistance were not. Because forest managers may consider using habitat enhancement to improve northern long-eared bat survival, reproduction, and juvenile recruitment and must also protect documented day-roosts during forestry operations, we conclude that initial positive benefits from prescribed burning did not come at the expense of subsequent day-roost loss greater than background rates in these forests at least for the duration we examined.

Keywords

central Appalachians; day-roost longevity; Myotis septentrionalis; northern long-eared bat; prescribed fire

Citation

Ford, W. Mark; Johnson, Joshua B.; Thomas-Van Gundy, Melissa. 2021. Northern Long-Eared Bat (Myotis septentrionalis) Day-Roost Loss in the Central Appalachian Mountains following Prescribed Burning. International Journal of Forestry Research. 2021: 5512044. 6 p. https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/5512044.

Last updated on: November 9, 2021