Froidevaux JSP, Barbaro L, Vinet O, Larrieu L, Bas Y, Molina J, Calatayud F & Brin A (2021) Bat responses to changes in forest composition and prey abundance depend on landscape matrix and stand structure. Scientific Reports, 11, Art. No.: 10586. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-89660-z
Despite the key importance of the landscape matrix for bats, we still not fully understand how the effect of forest composition interacts at combined stand and landscape scales to shape bat communities. In addition, we lack detailed knowledge on the effects of local habitat structure on bat-prey relationships in forested landscapes. We tested the assumptions that (i) forest composition has interacting effects on bats between stand and landscape scales; and (ii) stand structure mediates prey abundance effects on bat activity. Our results indicated that in conifer-dominated landscapes (> 80% of coniferous forests) bat activity was higher in stands with a higher proportion of deciduous trees while bats were less active in stands with a higher proportion of deciduous trees in mixed forest landscapes (~ 50% of deciduous forests). Moth abundance was selected in the best models for six among nine bat species. The positive effect of moth abundance on Barbastella barbastellus was mediated by vegetation clutter, with dense understory cover likely reducing prey accessibility. Altogether, our findings deepen our understanding of the ecological processes affecting bats in forest landscapes and strengthen the need to consider both landscape context and trophic linkage when assessing the effects of stand-scale compositional and structural attributes on bats.
Biodiversity; Forest ecology
Scientific Reports: Volume 11