Optimizing conservation strategies for Mexican freetailed bats: a population viability and ecosystem services approach

Biodiversity and Conservation
By: , and 

Links

Abstract

Conservation planning can be challenging due to the need to balance biological concerns about population viability with social concerns about the benefits biodiversity provide to society, often while operating under a limited budget. Methods and tools that help prioritize conservation actions are critical for the management of at-risk species. Here, we use a multi-attribute utility function to assess the optimal maternity roosts to conserve for maintaining the population viability and the ecosystem services of a single species, the Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis mexicana). Mexican free-tailed bats provide ecosystem services such as insect pest-suppression in agricultural areas and recreational viewing opportunities, and may be threatened by climate change and development of wind energy. We evaluated each roost based on five attributes: the maternity roost’s contribution to population viability, the pest suppression ecosystem services to the surrounding area provided by the bats residing in the roost, the ecotourism value of the roost, the risks posed to each roost structure, and the risks posed to the population of bats residing in each roost. We compared several scenarios that prioritized these attributes differently, hypothesizing that the set of roosts with the highest rankings would vary according to the conservation scenario. Our results indicate that placing higher values on different roost attributes (e.g. population importance over ecosystem service value) altered the roost rankings. We determined that the values placed on various conservation objectives are an important determinant of habitat planning.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Optimizing conservation strategies for Mexican freetailed bats: a population viability and ecosystem services approach
Series title Biodiversity and Conservation
DOI 10.1007/s10531-014-0790-7
Volume 24
Issue 1
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis
Description 20 p.
First page 63
Last page 82
Country Mexico, United States
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N