Effects of historic wildfire and prescribed fire on site occupancy of bats in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA

Journal of Forestry Research
By: , and 

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Abstract

Given high likelihood of regional extirpation of several once-common bat species in eastern North America from White-nose Syndrome, it is critical that impacts of forest management activities such as prescribed fire are known to minimize potentially additive negative effects on bat populations. Historic wildfires may offer a suitable surrogate to assess long-term burn impacts on bats for planning, implementing and assessing burning programs going forward. To examine effects of historic fire on bats, we sampled bat activity at 24 transect locations in burned and unburned forest stands in the central Appalachian Mountains of Shenandoah National Park (SNP), Virginia, USA, 2015. We found limited evidence positive fire effects over time on hoary bats (Lasiurus cinereus) and big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) occupancy. Overall, we found few or mostly equivocal relationships of bat occupancy relative to burn condition or time since fire at SNP across species using a false-positive occupancy approach. Our results suggest that fire does not strongly affect bat site occupancy at short or long-term time scales in the central Appalachians.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Effects of historic wildfire and prescribed fire on site occupancy of bats in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA
Series title Journal of Forestry Research
DOI 10.1007/s11676-019-00923-y
Edition Online First
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Leetown
Country United States
State Virginia
Other Geospatial Shenandoah National Park
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