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Using trait-based filtering as a predictive framework for conservation: A case study of bats on farms in southeastern Australia

Hanspach, Jan; Fischer, Joern; Stagoll (Ikin), Karen; Newport, Jenny; Law, Bradley S.

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1.With world-wide changes in human land use, an important challenge for conservation biologists is to develop frameworks to predict how species will respond to landscape change. Environmental filtering, where different environments favour different species' traits, has the potential to be a useful predictive framework. Therefore, it is important to advance our understanding of how species with different traits respond to environmental variables. 2.We investigated the distribution of microbats...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorHanspach, Jan
dc.contributor.authorFischer, Joern
dc.contributor.authorStagoll (Ikin), Karen
dc.contributor.authorNewport, Jenny
dc.contributor.authorLaw, Bradley S.
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-10T23:22:11Z
dc.identifier.issn0021-8901
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/66430
dc.description.abstract1.With world-wide changes in human land use, an important challenge for conservation biologists is to develop frameworks to predict how species will respond to landscape change. Environmental filtering, where different environments favour different species' traits, has the potential to be a useful predictive framework. Therefore, it is important to advance our understanding of how species with different traits respond to environmental variables. 2.We investigated the distribution of microbats in a 1000000ha agricultural region in southeastern Australia, with specific emphasis on the effects of tree density on bat species characterized by different sizes, wing shapes and echolocation frequencies. The study area is substantially cleared, and trees are continuing to decline because grazing inhibits tree regeneration. We monitored bat activity acoustically at 80 sites spanning a wide range of tree densities. We used regression modelling to quantify the response of bats to tree density and other ecological covariates, and RLQ analysis to assess how different traits correlated with various environmental gradients. 3.Total bat activity and species richness peaked at intermediate tree densities. Species composition was explained by tree density and the traits of individual species. Sites with low tree cover were dominated by large, fast-flying species, whereas sites with dense tree cover were dominated by smaller, highly manoeuvrable species. These findings are consistent with recent findings from other locations around the world. 4.Synthesis and applications. Trait-based predictive frameworks enable landscape managers to assess how different management strategies and landscape modifications are likely to affect different species. Here, we propose a framework to derive general predictions of how bats respond to landscape modification, based on tree density and species traits. We apply this framework to a current conservation issue of tree decline in our study area and derive management priorities including: (i) maintaining a range of tree densities throughout the region; (ii) ensuring the persistence of locations with intermediate tree densities; and (iii) using environmentally sensitive grazing practices, for example, by incorporating long rest periods. Trait-based predictive frameworks enable landscape managers to assess how different management strategies and landscape modifications are likely to affect different species. Here, we propose a framework to derive general predictions of how bats respond to landscape modification, based on tree density and species traits. We apply this framework to a current conservation issue of tree decline in our study area and derive management priorities including: (i) maintaining a range of tree densities throughout the region; (ii) ensuring the persistence of locations with intermediate tree densities; and (iii) using environmentally sensitive grazing practices, for example, by incorporating long rest periods.
dc.publisherBritish Ecological Society
dc.sourceJournal of Applied Ecology
dc.subjectKeywords: bat; conservation management; echolocation; environmental gradient; farm; grazing; heterogeneity; insectivore; land use change; landscape change; persistence; population decline; regression analysis; species richness; tree; wing morphology; Australia; Mic Grazing landscape; Insectivorous bats; Landscape heterogeneity; Microchiroptera; Mixed effects model; RLQ analysis; Wing shape
dc.titleUsing trait-based filtering as a predictive framework for conservation: A case study of bats on farms in southeastern Australia
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume49
dc.date.issued2012
local.identifier.absfor060202 - Community Ecology
local.identifier.absfor050202 - Conservation and Biodiversity
local.identifier.absfor050211 - Wildlife and Habitat Management
local.identifier.ariespublicationf5625xPUB1282
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationHanspach, Jan, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationFischer, Joern, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationStagoll (Ikin), Karen, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationNewport, Jenny, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationLaw, Bradley S., Forest Science Centre
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.issue4
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage842
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage850
local.identifier.doi10.1111/j.1365-2664.2012.02159.x
local.identifier.absseo960904 - Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Land Management
local.identifier.absseo961305 - Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas in Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Environments
dc.date.updated2016-02-24T08:42:42Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-84864017919
local.identifier.thomsonID000306477000011
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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