Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tropical Reforestation Aided By Bats

Date:
April 28, 2008
Source:
Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Summary:
German scientists are engaging bats to kick-start natural reforestation in the tropics by installing artificial bat roosts in deforested areas. The researchers report that the deployment of artificial bat roosts significantly increases seed dispersal of a wide range of tropical forest plants into their surroundings, providing a simple and cheap method to speed up natural forest regeneration.

Many bats eat fruits or nectar, and thus are key species for seed dispersal and flower pollination.
Credit: iStockphoto/Gijs Bekenkamp

German scientists are engaging bats to kick-start natural reforestation in the tropics by installing artificial bat roosts in deforested areas. This novel method for tropical restoration is presented in a new study published online in the science journal Conservation Biology this week. Detlev Kelm from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin (IZW) and Kerstin Wiesner and Otto von Helversen from the University of Erlangen–Nuremberg report that the deployment of artificial bat roosts significantly increases seed dispersal of a wide range of tropical forest plants into their surroundings, providing a simple and cheap method to speed up natural forest regeneration.

Tropical forests are of global ecological importance. They are a key contributor to the global carbon balance and are host to a major part of the world’s biodiversity. Between 2000 and 2005, worldwide net losses of tropical forest cover averaged 0.18 % annually and regionally even exceeded 1.5 % annually in some Latin American countries. Forest is usually replaced by agriculture. Often soils become rapidly infertile and land is abandoned. Because deforested areas rarely offer much food or protection for seed dispersers such as birds or small mammals, natural forest regeneration is hampered by a lack of natural seed inputs. The alternative, replanting tropical forests, is too expensive and rarely a feasible option, and, in general, knowledge on how best to rapidly restore natural vegetation is lacking.

“We believe that bats could help in reforestation. They are able to cover large distances during their nightly foraging flights and are willing to enter deforested areas”, says Detlev Kelm from the IZW. Many bats eat fruits or nectar, and thus are key species for seed dispersal and flower pollination. Kelm and colleagues showed that the principal barrier to reforestation - the lack of seed inputs - could be overcome by the deployment of artificial day roosts for bats in deforested areas. These roosts were designed to approximate characteristics of large, hollow tree trunks, the main type of natural bat roost. “Within a few days to weeks the first bats will move in. So far we have found ten bat species using the roosts, and several of these are common and important seed dispersers”, Kelm reports. “We measured the effect of the roosts on seed dispersal and found seeds of more than 60 plant species being transported by the bats”. Of these plants, most were pioneer species, which represent the initial stages of natural forest succession.

This cost and labour efficient method can thus support and speed up natural forest regeneration. Artificial roosts are simply built boxes, which require little maintenance and can be used by bats for many years. “We hope that this cheap and easy to use method will be applied in many parts of the tropics in the near future, and that bats will be “employed” as efficient agents of reforestation”, says Kelm. They may provide an effective contribution to the amelioration of deforestation and climate change.

Detlev H. Kelm, Kerstin R. Wiesner, Otto Von Helversen. Effects of Artificial Roosts for Frugivorous Bats on Seed Dispersal in a Neotropical Forest Pasture Mosaic. Conservation Biology. Published article online: 25-Apr-2008.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.. "Tropical Reforestation Aided By Bats." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080428124235.htm>.
Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.. (2008, April 28). Tropical Reforestation Aided By Bats. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080428124235.htm
Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.. "Tropical Reforestation Aided By Bats." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080428124235.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins