Many aspects of the influences of forest management activities on bats (Chiroptera) in the Pacific Northwest are poorly known. We compared thinned and unthinned forest stands of the same age and old-growth forest stands to determine potential differences in structure and amount of use by bats. We hypothesized that activity levels of bats would differ in stands differing in structure as a result of management history and that activity of bats would be similar in stands of similar structure. We used automated ultrasonic detectors (Anabat II) to record calls of bats in 50-100-year-old thinned and unthinned stands, and in old-growth (a?Y200 yr old) stands in the Oregon Coast Range during the summers of 1994 and 1995. Our median index of bat activity was higher in old-growth than in unthinned stands and higher in thinned than in unthinned stands. We were not able to detect a significant difference between the index of median bat activity for old-growth and thinned stands. More than 90% of identifiable passes were identified as calls from Myotis species. The 3 stand types we examined differed in certain structural characteristics such as density and size of trees, and amount of overstory and understory cover. We concluded that the structural changes caused by thinning may benefit bats by creating habitat structure in young stands that bats are able to use more effectively.
Additional publication details
Bat activity in thinned, unthinned, and old-growth forests in western Oregon