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 Scientists on the road to discovering impact of urban road dust
18.01.2018 | University of Alberta

nachricht Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk
17.01.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

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: Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots

Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists have learned to change the wavelength of Tamm plasmons

24.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

When the eyes move, the eardrums move, too

24.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Deaf children learn words faster than hearing children

24.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>