On estimating the economic value of insectivorous bats: Prospects and priorities for biologists

By: , and 



Bats are among the most economically important nondomesticated mammals in the world. They are well-known pollinators and seed dispersers, but crop pest suppression is probably the most valuable ecosystem service provided by bats. Scientific literature and popular media often include reports of crop pests in the diet of bats and anecdotal or extrapolated estimates of how many insects are eaten by bats. However, quantitative estimates of the ecosystem services provided by bats in agricultural systems are rare, and the few estimates that are available are limited to a single cotton-dominated system in Texas. Despite the tremendous value for conservation and economic security of such information, surprisingly few scientific efforts have been dedicated to quantifying the economic value of bats. Here, we outline the types of information needed to better quantify the value of bats in agricultural ecosystems. Because of the complexity of the ecosystems involved, creative experimental design and innovative new methods will help advance our knowledge in this area. Experiments involving bats in agricultural systems may be needed sooner than later, before population declines associated with white-nose syndrome and wind turbines potentially render them impossible.

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title On estimating the economic value of insectivorous bats: Prospects and priorities for biologists
ISBN 978-1-4614-7396-1
DOI 10.1007/978-1-4614-7397-8_24
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center
Description 15 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Bat evolution, ecology, and conservation
First page 501
Last page 515
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