Understanding effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on populations or communities is critical to effective conservation and restoration. This is particularly important for bats because they provide vital services to ecosystems via pollination and seed dispersal, especially in tropical and subtropical habitats. Based on more than 1,000 h of survey during a 15-month period, we quantified species abundances and community structure of phyllostomid bats at 14 sites in a 3,000-km2 region of eastern Paraguay. Abundance was highest for Artibeus lituratus in deforested landscapes and for Chrotopterus auritus in forested habitats. In contrast, Artibeus fimbriatus, Carollia perspicillata, Glossophaga soricina, Platyrrhinus lineatus, Pygoderma bilabiatum, and Sturnira lilium attained highest abundance in moderately fragmented forest landscapes. Forest cover, patch size, and patch density frequently were associated with abundance of species. At the community level, species richness was highest in partly deforested landscapes, whereas evenness was greatest in forested habitat. In general, the highest diversity of bats occurred in landscapes comprising moderately fragmented forest habitat. This underscores the importance of remnant habitat patches to conservation strategies.
Additional publication details
Landscape responses of bats to habitat fragmentation in Atlantic forest of paraguay