Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tropical reforestation aided by bats

04.04.2008
German scientists engage bats to kick-start natural reforestation in the tropics by installing artificial bat roosts in deforested areas.

This novel method for tropical restoration is presented in a new study published online in the science journal Conservation Biology this week.

Detlev Kelm from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin (IZW) and Kerstin Wiesner and Otto von Helversen from the University of Erlangen –Nuremberg report that the deployment of artificial bat roosts significantly increases seed dispersal of a wide range of tropical forest plants into their surroundings, providing a simple and cheap method to speed up natural forest regeneration.

Tropical forests are of global ecological importance. They are a key contributor to the global carbon balance and are host to a major part of the world’s biodiversity. Between 2000 and 2005, worldwide net losses of tropical forest cover averaged 0.18 % annually and regionally even exceeded 1.5 % annually in some Latin American countries. Forest is usually replaced by agriculture. Often soils become rapidly infertile and land is abandoned. Because deforested areas rarely offer much food or protection for seed dispersers such as birds or small mammals, natural forest regeneration is hampered by a lack of natural seed inputs. The alternative, replanting tropical forests, is too expensive and rarely a feasible option, and, in general, knowledge on how best to rapidly restore natural vegetation is lacking.

“We believe that bats could help in reforestation. They are able to cover large distances during their nightly foraging flights and are willing to enter deforested areas”, says Detlev Kelm from the IZW. Many bats eat fruits or nectar, and thus are key species for seed dispersal and flower pollination. Kelm and colleagues showed that the principal barrier to reforestation - the lack of seed inputs - could be overcome by the deployment of artificial day roosts for bats in deforested areas. These roosts were designed to approximate characteristics of large, hollow tree trunks, the main type of natural bat roost. “Within a few days to weeks the first bats will move in. So far we have found ten bat species using the roosts, and several of these are common and important seed dispersers”, Kelm reports. “We measured the effect of the roosts on seed dispersal and found seeds of more than 60 plant species being transported by the bats”. Of these plants, most were pioneer species, which represent the initial stages of natural forest succession.

This cost and labour efficient method can thus support and speed up natural forest regeneration. Artificial roosts are simply built boxes, which require little maintenance and can be used by bats for many years. “We hope that this cheap and easy to use method will be applied in many parts of the tropics in the near future, and that bats will be “employed” as efficient agents of reforestation”, says Kelm. They may provide an effective contribution to the amelioration of deforestation and climate change.

Information & Photos:

Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildtlife Research (IZW)
in the Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Alfred-Kowalke-Str. 17
10315 Berlin
Germany
Dr. Detlev Kelm, 0049 30 5168 513, kelm@izw-berlin.de
Steven Seet, 0049 30 5168 108, seet@izw-berlin.de

Christine Vollgraf | Forschungsverbund Berlin
Further information:
http://www.izw-berlin.de
http://www.fv-berlin.de

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Structured light and nanomaterials open new ways to tailor light at the nanoscale

23.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

On the shape of the 'petal' for the dissipation curve

23.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Clean and Efficient – Fraunhofer ISE Presents Hydrogen Technologies at the HANNOVER MESSE 2018

23.04.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>