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Welcome to the technical sessions schedule for the 2015 SEAFWA Annual Meeting.

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Tuesday, November 3 • 4:20pm - 4:40pm
Prescribed Fire and Overstory Thinning Increase Bat Activity in Tennessee Hardwood Forests

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Maxwell R. Cox, Emma V. Willcox, Patrick D. Keyser, Andrew L. Vander Yacht –University of Tennessee

We examined bat response to prescribed fire and overstory thinning in Tennessee hardwood forests. We used acoustic recording of bat echolocation calls to assess bat activity in hardwood forest stands subject to 4 prescribed fire and overstory thinning treatments (dormant and growing season fire with high [DormH and GrowH] or low overstory thinning [DormL and GrowL], as well as untreated controls. We classified recorded echolocation call sequences to species using automated identification software. To minimize errors in species classification of recorded calls, we combined similar species in groups based on call characteristics. We found total bat activity (P ≤ 0.001), as well as activity of LANY (eastern red bat [Lasiurus borealis] and evening bat [Nycticeius humeralis]; P = 0.001), EPLA (big brown bat [Eptesicus fuscus] and silver-haired bat [Lasionycteris noctivagans]; P ≤ 0.001), PESU (tricolored bat [Perimyotis subflavus]; P = 0.001), and LACI (hoary bat [Lasiurus cinereus]; P = 0.005) was greater in DormH and GrowH stands. Activity of these bat species was inversely related to live overstory basal area, being lower in Control, DormL and GrowL stands where basal area was higher (P ≤ 0.001). Our results suggest these basal area reductions reduce structural clutter leading to improved foraging and commuting conditions for bats, particularly larger bodied species with low call frequencies that are adapted to more successfully fly and forage in open conditions. In areas where conservation of these bat species is a priority, prescribed fire and overstory thinning may provide useful tools for their management.

Tuesday November 3, 2015 4:20pm - 4:40pm EST
Ballroom Salon B

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