Managing Forests for Bats
By Ethan Tapper
Scientists from the University of Illinois recently studied the effects of removing bats from a forest, finding that a forest without bats had three times as many insects and five times as much defoliation as a forest with bats. The researchers postulated that this increased defoliation would increase forest vulnerability — making trees more susceptible to other stressors at a time when forests are already stressed from climate change, invasive species, deforestation, forest fragmentation and more. This research made me consider the many pieces and parts that make forests work, and, more specifically, the role that bats play in forests.