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A Comparison of Logging Systems and Bat Diversity in the Neotropics

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Abstract:  Evaluating logging systems to determine which are most compatible with the maintenance of biodiversity is of prime importance if tropical forests are to be managed in a sustainable way. Bats are model taxa for this purpose. Two different logging systems are used in the natural forest of the Victoria‐Mayaro Forest Reserve in Trinidad: open range and periodic block. Open range is a continuous harvesting system and, in common with most methods used to log tropical forests worldwide, has few harvest controls other than girth limits for selected species. Periodic block is a polycyclic system, with felling based on ecological criteria assumed to be compatible with the maintenance of biodiversity. To compare the effects of periodic block and open‐range systems on biodiversity, we determined bat species richness and abundance in each system and in primary forest. We caught bats in mist nets set at ground level and in the canopy and in harp traps. In total 1959 individuals representing 38 species were captured. Species richness was similar among primary forest and logged forest habitats, although bat diversity was lower in logged forest. The distributions of bat species abundance did not differ significantly between logged forest and primary forest. We found, however, that both logging systems lead to a decrease in gleaning animalivores and an increase in frugivores. The increase in frugivores was likely the result of an increase in the abundance of bat‐dispersed pioneer fruiting plants in logged forest. Bats of periodic‐block‐managed forest were more similar to those of primary forest than those of forest logged using the open‐range system, indicating that the periodic‐block system is more compatible with the maintenance of bat diversity. Our results support the suggestion that the measured use of tropical forests can largely be compatible with biodiversity conservation.
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Language: English

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 2TZ, Scotland, United Kingdom

Publication date: August 1, 2005

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