Effects of reduced-impact logging and forest physiognomy on bat populations of lowland Amazonian forest.
As human population size increases, demand for natural resources will increase. Logging pressure related to increasing demands continues to threaten remote areas of Amazonian forest. A harvest protocol is required to provide renewable timber resources that meet consumer needs while minimizing negative effects on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Reduced-impact logging (RIL) may be a viable option to achieve these goals. Effects of RIL (18 m3 ha-1) and forest physiognomy were assessed for populations of bats from Amazonian terra firme forest in Brazil at 20-42 months postharvest. Based on 64 512 meter-hours of netting, 1468 bats were captured representing 47 species, 30 genera, four families and five feeding ensembles. Five species (one nectarivore and four frugivores) responded to management in a consistent manner: four were more abundant in logged forest and one was more abundant in undisturbed forest. Ten species (one nectarivore, two gleaning animalivores and seven frugivores) responded to forest physiognomy in a consistent manner: nine were more abundant in closed-canopy sites and one was more abundant in gaps. Three species (all frugivores) exhibited idiosyncratic responses to management that were contingent on physiognomy. Using qualitative measures (changes in status from common to rare, or from present to absent), RIL elicited negative responses from 16 species, mostly rare taxa. After accounting for differences in total number of collected individuals, control forest harboured seven to 15 more rare species than did forest subjected to RIL. Synthesis and applications. In the short term, RIL generally did not negatively affect populations of abundant bats. In contrast, reductions in abundance or local extirpation in response to RIL generally characterized uncommon or rare species. Arrangement of RIL sites in a matrix of undisturbed forest may allow source-sink dynamics to mitigate effects of RIL on rare or sensitive species and enhance sustainability at a regional scale.