There used to be so many bats here that nobody really bothered studying some of the most abundant species. Wildlife experts likely knew more about robins, another ubiquitous species, than they did bats. Nothing against robins, but bats play a really crucial role in controlling insects, especially around farms.
Things have changed. Bat populations have plummeted because of a fungal infection called white nose syndrome. Where there used to be tens of thousands of bats there are dozens. We feel lucky to see 3 or 4 on a summer evening.
The northern long-eared bat, formerly one of the most numerous species, has been one of the species hardest hit by this disease. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently listed this bat as a “threatened species,” placing it under the protection of the Endangered Species Act.
Forest landowners like us at ACT, and others across the region will be facing a new challenge of bringing northern long-eared bat considerations into our forest management plans and harvests.
ACT is working to build knowledge about long-eared bats and other declining forest bats. Our consulting ecologist, Jesse Mohr, is leading a project to learn about how bats are using forested habitats and how forest landowners can help to conserve these declining species. He has placed acoustic survey devices on conservation properties in Lyman to help acertain local bat populations. With partners including US Fish & Wildlife Service and the Natural Resources Conservation service, Jesse will collect and analyze the data and develop guidelines for forest managers.
On Aug. 4 we’ll host a workshop for landowners and foresters at one of our conservation properties to see what a bat-friendly harvest looks like, and share more about what we've learned about bats.
If you're interested in coming to the bat workshop please register by clicking the "Register Here! " button on the right side of your screen. See you there!