Authored by Katherine Harms1, Emmanuel Omondi2,* & Atanu Mukherjee2,*
Bats are estimated to provide between $3.7 and $53 billion annually in ecosystem services in the U.S.A. Determining how bats use land for foraging is important in planning agricultural landscapes to increase their presence and role in insect pest control. A research project was established in 2016 and 2017 to determine bat populations and activity differences between different land use management systems. Bat activity was monitored in 10 conventionally and organically managed systems in the presence of, and at a distance from the tree line. Two acoustic monitoring devices were used to record ultrasonic echolocation calls of bats. Organic systems without tree line had 67% and 45% greater bat passes than conventional systems without tree line as detected by the two devices. However, the conventional system with tree line had 61% and 59% greater bat passes than organic systems, attributed to known roosting sites in the area. Mean bat passes of 73.4 and 30 were recorded respectively at 15 m and 46 m from the tree line, suggesting that bats prefer to forage near tree lines likely to have greater access to roosting, food security, and habitation. This study confirms the importance of tree lines in impacting bat activity in conformity with past studies that reported similar results.