Chapter 10 Bats and Gaps: The Role of Early Successional Patches in the Roosting and Foraging Ecology of Bats
Early successional habitats are important foraging and commuting sites for the 14 species of bats that inhabit the Central Hardwood Region, especially larger open-adapted species such as hoary bats (Lasiurus cinereus), red bats (L. borealis), silver-haired bats (Lasionycteris noctivagans), and big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus). Forest gaps, small openings, and the edges between early successional patches and mature forest are especially important habitats because they are used by both open-adapted and clutter-adapted species. Several bat species select roosts in close proximity to early successional patches, perhaps to minimize foraging and commuting costs. Future research on effects of early successional patch size, shape, vegetation structure, and connectivity on bat use, and the distribution of early successional habitats in relation to mature forest, roosting sites, and water sources will assist managers in providing the optimal types and distribution of early successional patches on the landscape.