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“Set and forget” does not work when it comes to fissure roosts carved into live trees for bats

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-01-05, 22:30 authored by Stephen GriffithsStephen Griffiths, PE Lentini, Kristin SemmensKristin Semmens, Kylie RobertKylie Robert

Interest in carving cavities directly into trees to provide habitat for hollow-dependent wildlife is rapidly growing among researchers, conservation practitioners, community groups, and land managers. Monitoring programs have shown that some of the designs and approaches used to create these structures encourage uptake by fauna. However, evidence for occupancy of “bat specific” fissure cavities is lacking even though they are already being enthusiastically installed and advocated for by the arboriculture industry. To address this, we conducted a field trial to test the efficacy of carved bat fissure cavities (carved fissures), which had entrances designed to replicate the types of natural cracks and crevices that develop in live tree stems which are commonly used by bats. We found that the entrances to all 174 of the carved fissures we installed across 83 live trees were closed by wound wood growth within 6 years of installation, while some were closed by kino (sap produced by Eucalypteae spp.) flow within as little as 3 months. During surveys conducted while entrances to the carved fissures were still open, we did not record any direct or indirect evidence of bats (or any other vertebrates) using them as roosts. These results highlight the urgent need for systematic research, encompassing a broader range of carved designs, tree species, and environmental contexts to assess whether these types of fissure cavities that are carved into live trees can actually provide habitat for bats in the medium- to long-term.

Funding

This study was funded by the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning's (formally the Department of Environment and Primary Industries) "Communities for Nature Grants" (2013L00216) (grant to P.E.L. and S.R.G.), the Australian Government's National Land Care Program (25ALG-465) (grant to S.R.G.), and the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment (grant to S.R.G.). Fieldwork was carried out under permits from the La Trobe University Animal Ethics Committee (Ethics Permit AEC17-72) and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Victoria, Australia (Research Permits 10008007 and 10008553). Open access publishing facilitated by La Trobe University, as part of the Wiley - La Trobe University agreement via the Council of Australian University Librarians.

History

Publication Date

2023-01-01

Journal

Restoration Ecology

Volume

31

Issue

1

Article Number

e13751

Pagination

11p.

Publisher

Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for Ecological Restoration

ISSN

1061-2971

Rights Statement

© 2022 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivsLicense, which permits use and distribution in any medium,provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made. Supporting information at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/rec.13751/suppinfo

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