5 years ago

Need for multiscale planning for conservation of urban bats

Travis Gallo, Elizabeth W. Lehrer, Patrick J. Wolff, R. Julia Kilgour, Mason Fidino, Seth Magle
For over a century there have been continual efforts to incorporate nature into urban planning. These efforts – known as urban reconciliation– aim to manage and create habitats that support biodiversity within cities. Given that species select habitat at different spatial scales, understanding the scale at which urban species respond to their environment is critical to the success of urban reconciliation efforts. We assessed species-habitat relationships for common bat species at local (50-m), medium (500-m), and broad (1-km) spatial scales in the Chicago metropolitan area and predicted bat activity across the greater Chicago region. We found that habitat characteristics across all measured scales were important predictors of silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans) and eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis) activity, and big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus) activity was significantly lower at urban sites compared to rural sites. We also found that open vegetation had a negative effect on silver-haired bat activity at the local scale but a positive effect at the medium-sized scale, indicating potential shifts in the relative importance of some habitat characteristics at varying scales. These results demonstrate that local-scale effects may be constrained by broader spatial patterns. Our findings highlight the importance of considering scale in urban reconciliation efforts and our landscape predictions provide information that can help prioritize urban conservation work.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13047

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