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Tuesday, January 30 • 4:20pm - 4:40pm
SMALL MAMMALS: Understanding the Ecological Impacts of Timber Harvesting Techniques on the Bat Community in a Midwestern Hardwood Forest

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AUTHORS. Keifer Titus, Timothy Carter - Ball State University Department of Biology; Scott Haulton, Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry

ABSTRACT. Timber harvesting is an essential tool for habitat management of several wildlife species present on Indiana State forests, especially bats. Despite a long history of timber harvesting and forest management in the Midwest, there is a paucity of information regarding the immediate and long-term effects of these practices on forest dwelling bat species. Considering recent population declines of several cave dwelling bat species due to White-nose Syndrome across the eastern and Midwestern U.S., understanding community wide bat response to habitat management practices are of immense importance. To fully elucidate the ecological consequences of harvesting practices on the bat community, we acoustically surveyed 144 sites across the Morgan-Monroe and Yellowwood state forests in southern Indiana during the 2016-2017 summer seasons (May-August). As a part of the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment, a long-term (100 yr.) ecological study, we used paired random sampling techniques to survey bat occupancy in four different harvest treatment types including clear-cuts, shelter wood cuts, single-tree selection cuts, and unharvested forests. Echolocation calls were recorded using Wildlife Acoustics SM2+ echolocation detectors and calls were identified using Bat Call ID v.2.7D (BCID). Over 55,000 call files were recorded over the course of the study. We used multi-season false-positive occupancy models to account for imperfect detection of bat species. Preliminary findings show evidence for equivocal relationships of occupancy between medium intensity harvests for northern long-eared (Myotis septentrionalis), Indiana (Myotis sodalis), and eastern red bats (Lasiurus borealis). Results will be discussed in full following complete analyses.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 4:20pm - 4:40pm CST