Landscape scale habitat suitability modelling of bats in the Western Ghats of India: Bats like something in their tea

Article English OPEN
Wordley, CFR ; Sankaran, M ; Mudappa, D ; Altringham, JD (2015)
  • Publisher: Elsevier
  • Journal: Biological Conservation (issn: 0006-3207, vol: 191, pp: 529-536)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2015.08.005
  • Subject: Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics | Nature and Landscape Conservation

To conserve biodiversity it is imperative that we understand how different species respond to land use change, and determine the scales at which habitat changes affect species' persistence. We used habitat suitability models (HSMs) at spatial scales from 100-4000. m to address these concerns for bats in the Western Ghats of India, a biodiversity hotspot of global importance where the habitat requirements of bats are poorly understood. We used acoustic and capture data to build fine scale HSMs for ten species (Hesperoptenus tickelli, Miniopterus fuliginosus, Miniopterus pusillus, Myotis horsfieldii, Pipistrellus ceylonicus, Megaderma spasma, Hipposideros pomona, Rhinolophus beddomei, Rhinolophus indorouxii and Rhinolophus lepidus) in a tea-dominated landscape. Small (100-500. m) scale habitat variables (e.g. percentage tea plantation cover) and distances to habitat features (e.g. distance to water) were the strongest predictors of bat occurrence, likely due to their high mobility, which enables them to exploit even small or isolated foraging areas. Most species showed a positive response to coffee plantations grown under native shade and to forest fragments, but a negative response to more heavily modified tea plantations. Two species were never recorded in tea plantations. This is the first study of bats in tea plantations globally, and the first ecological Old World bat study to combine acoustic and capture data. Our results suggest that although bats respond negatively to tea plantations, tea-dominated landscapes that also contain forest fragments and shade coffee can nevertheless support many bat species.
  • References (70)
    70 references, page 1 of 7

    Akasaka, T., Akasaka, M., Yanagawa, H., 2010. Relative importance of the environmental factors at site and landscape scales for bats along the riparian zone. Landsc. Ecol. Eng. 6, 247-255.

    Akasaka, T., Akasaka, M., Nakamura, F., 2012. Scale-independent significance of river and riparian zones on three sympatric Myotis species in an agricultural landscape. Biol. Conserv. 145, 15-23.

    Anand, M.O., Krishnaswamy, J., Kumar, A., Bali, A., 2010. Sustaining biodiversity conservation in human-modified landscapes in the Western Ghats: remnant forests matter. Biol. Conserv. 143, 2363-2374.

    Bawa, K.S., Karanth, K.U., Kumar, N.S., Rao, M., Das, A., Krishnaswamy, J., 2007. Western Ghats & Sri Lanka biodiversity hotspot. CEPF Report, pp. 1-100.

    Bellamy, C., Scott, C., Altringham, J., 2013. Multiscale, presence-only habitat suitability models: fine-resolution maps for eight bat species. J. Appl. Ecol. 50, 892-901.

    Cardillo, M., Mace, G.M., Gittleman, J.L., Purvis, A., 2006. Latent extinction risk and the future battlegrounds of mammal conservation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 103, 4157-4161.

    Catullo, G., Masi, M., Falcucci, A., Maiorano, L., Rondinini, C., Boitani, L., 2008. A gap analysis of Southeast Asian mammals based on habitat suitability models. Biol. Conserv. 141, 2730-2744.

    Cincotta, R.P., Wisnewski, J., Engelman, R., 2000. Human population in the biodiversity hotspots. Nature 404, 990-992.

    Cosson, J.F., Pons, J.M., Masson, D., 1999. Effects of forest fragmentation on frugivorous and nectarivorous bats in French Guiana. J. Trop. Ecol. 15, 515-534.

    Daily, G., 2001. Ecological forecasts. Nature 411, 245.

  • Related Research Results (2)
  • Metrics
    No metrics available
Share - Bookmark