A review of fire effects on bats and bat habitat in the eastern oak region
Fire is increasingly being used in oak forests to promote oak regeneration, improve wildlife habitat, and reduce hazardous fuel loads. Although recent research has begun to shed light on the relationships among fire, bats, and bat habitat, these interactions are not yet fully understood. Fire may affect bats directly through heat and smoke during the burning process or indirectly through modifications in habitat. Studies suggest fire generally has beneficial effects on bat habitat by creating snags, reducing understory and midstory clutter, creating more open forests, and possibly increasing abundance of flying insects. Direct effects of fire on bats during the burning process are still largely unknown. These potential direct effects likely differ for each species or roosting guild of bats, and may also vary by season and reproductive condition.