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Bed and breakfast for bats

This spring was time again for our yearly Forester’s Meeting, so local foresters, ConFoBi doctoral students, and PIs got together to discuss the ConFoBi findings in the context of forest management and exchange thoughts on the recent developments in the forests. Although we had to switch to an online conference this time, the discussions were fruitful and the participation high.

It was a great pleasure to see my fellow PhD students do a fantastic job presenting their research to the foresters, sparking their interest in arthropod communities, fungi species, and features of ground vegetation. We think these taxa should receive more attention when speaking about forest biodiversity. As I am studying the response of bats to retained forest structures, I was personally very pleased with the foresters’ interest in contributing to bat conservation in forests. To this end, more old and dead trees with suitable cavities and cracks that bats require for roosting are certainly needed in the long run. To address the current lack of these structures, one forester approached me with questions regarding the setup of a new bat box area. Opening my mailbox a few weeks after the meeting, I saw that, thanks to that forester’s initiative, 10 bat boxes were built and installed by his forest trainees. We hope that this is just the start of making the Black Forest more attractive for bats again and have started making bat boxes in our spare time to join efforts.

During working hours, I now focus entirely on how forest structures influence prey abundance and diversity for bats to understand how forests can also function as good foraging habitats for bats. There really shouldn’t be a “bed without breakfast!”

by Anna-Lena Hendel (B5)