Fire and the endangered Indiana bat
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In: Hutchinson, Todd F., ed. Proceedings of the 3rd fire in eastern oak forests conference; 2008 May 20-22; Carbondale, IL. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-46. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 51-75.
Fire and Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis) have coexisted for millennia in the central hardwoods region, yet past declines in populations of this endangered species, and the imperative of fire use in oak silviculture and ecosystem conservation, call for an analysis of both the risks and opportunities associated with using fires on landscapes in which the bat occurs. In this paper, we explore the potential direct effects of prescribed fire and associated smoke on Indiana bats. We identify the immediate effects on bats, such as exposure to smoke and displacement, when individuals are in tree roosts (under exfoliating bark or in crevices) and hibernacula (caves and mines). Radio-tracked northern long-eared bats (Myotis septentrionalis), an Indiana bat surrogate, flushed shortly after prescribed fire ignition in the Daniel Boone National Forest (Kentucky) on a warm spring day, confirming previously reported observations. We also consider the longer-term effects on bats of the habitat changes caused by fire use. Finally, we review National Forest Plans and ask how the available science supports their standards and guidelines. Efforts to manage Indiana bats are based on limited monitoring of the effects of habitat manipulations and a body of research that is deficient in key areas, providing a poor basis on which to either practice adaptive management or counter restrictions on growing-season burning.
NOTE: information on page 66 of this publication was updated on Aug. 18, 2009.
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Dickinson, Matthew B.; Lacki, Michael J.; Cox, Daniel R. 2009. Fire and the endangered Indiana bat. In: Hutchinson, Todd F., ed. Proceedings of the 3rd fire in eastern oak forests conference; 2008 May 20-22; Carbondale, IL. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-46. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 51-75.