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:
Upcycling 'fast fashion' to reduce waste and pollution
03.04.2017 | American Chemical Society
Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy