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Going to Bat for Bats: New Guidance for Bat-friendly Forest Management
Midwest Region, October 22, 2018
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Bat researchers and Indiana DNR foresters inspect a large snag on state forest lands used as a primary roost for a maternity colony of Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis).
Bat researchers and Indiana DNR foresters inspect a large snag on state forest lands used as a primary roost for a maternity colony of Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis). - Photo Credit: R. Andrew King
A snag used by a maternity colony of Indiana bats on Morgan-Monroe State Forest in Indiana.
A snag used by a maternity colony of Indiana bats on Morgan-Monroe State Forest in Indiana. - Photo Credit: R. Andrew King
Bat researchers with Indiana State University and foresters with the Indiana DNR, Division of Forestry inspecting a bat box used by federally endangered Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis) on Morgan-Monroe State Forest in south central Indiana. Pictured from left to right: Scott Haulton (Forestry Wildlife Specialist, Indiana DNR), Dan Ernst (Assistant State Forester, Indiana DNR), Scott Bergeson (Ph.D. candidate, Indiana State Univ.) and Dr. Joy O'Keefe (Asssitant Professor, Indiana State Univ.).
Bat researchers with Indiana State University and foresters with the Indiana DNR, Division of Forestry inspecting a bat box used by federally endangered Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis) on Morgan-Monroe State Forest in south central Indiana. Pictured from left to right: Scott Haulton (Forestry Wildlife Specialist, Indiana DNR), Dan Ernst (Assistant State Forester, Indiana DNR), Scott Bergeson (Ph.D. candidate, Indiana State Univ.) and Dr. Joy O'Keefe (Asssitant Professor, Indiana State Univ.). - Photo Credit: R. Andrew King

Forest managers and wildlife biologists desiring to improve or maintain forest habitat for bat species affected by white-nose syndrome now have a new reference tool to inform their management decisions: Beneficial Forest Management Practices for WNS-affected Bats: Voluntary Guidance for Land Managers and Woodland Owners in the Eastern United States (see link below). This guidance document was written by the White-Nose Syndrome Response Team’s Conservation and Recovery Working Group and summarizes research on bat and forest management over the past decade. Andy King, a fish and wildlife biologist with the Service’s Indiana Ecological Services Field Office and one of the co-editors of the document, said the need for such guidance was originally raised during a breakout session at the 2013 National WNS Workshop that he and Cathy Johnson, a wildlife biologist with the US Forest Service on the Monongahela National Forest, led. The guidance document contains detailed information, including a glossary of bat and forest management related terms and citations for pertinent scientific literature to help land managers and others interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the underlying science and related issues that were considered when developing the beneficial forest management practices. Until the WNS Response Team has actionable management options for directly treating WNS-affected bats, the working group has focused on developing management tools aimed at alleviating other potential threats to bats wherever possible. The group deemed creating, improving and maintaining existing bat-friendly forests as a crucial means to conserve not only WNS-affected bats, but all bat species in general. The document was prepared and reviewed by a diverse group of volunteers from universities, federal and state agencies, and non-governmental organizations and covers a wide array of topics including threats and stressors to bats, landscape considerations, vegetation management, snag management, prescribed fire and non-native invasive species.

 

To make the report accessible to a larger audience, the working group hopes to distill the best forest management practices guidance into a brochure or pamphlet to make the information more readily available to private landowners, as well as a reference that a consulting forester can share when meeting with a landowner. If you are interested in assisting with the development of a best forest management practices for bats brochure, contact Andy King at andrew_king@fws.gov. Likewise, if you are interested in contributing a forestry or land management perspective to future WNS meetings or to contribute to other WNS Response Team efforts, then please contact Jeremy Coleman, the Service’s National WNS Coordinator at jeremy_coleman@fws.gov to learn more about how to participate.


BFMP Guidance Document on national WNS website
https://www.whitenosesyndrome.org/mmedia-education/beneficial-forest-management-practices-for-wns-affected-bats-voluntary-guidance-for-land-managers-and-woodland-owners-in-the-eastern-united-states
Contact Info: Andy King, 812-334-4261 x1216, Andrew_King@fws.gov
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