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    For lack of a forest, bats like basements

    Bats, which originally wintered in old hardwood forests, readily hibernate in basements. Researchers from the Roztoczański National Park, Lublin and Warsaw write about the importance of hiding places in human settlements for protected mammal species when most forests do not provide a safe wintering site.

    Research in the Roztoczański National Park has been conducted for thirteen years by park employees, in cooperation with scientists from the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin and the University of Warsaw. The results of the analysis appeared in the scientific journal – Journal of Vertebrate Biology.

     

    Historically, most bats inhabiting Europe were associated with forests, where these flying mammals foraged for food and sought hiding places in hollows and crevices protrusive bark. Unfortunately, modern forests, with their simplified species composition, low proportion of old-growth forests and scarcity of dead trees, offer far fewer hiding places for bats than primary forests. As a result, many forest-dwelling bats now seek shelter in buildings,” explain the authors of the article: PhD Przemysław Stachyra from RPN, PhD Michał Piskorski from UMCS, Mirosław Tchórzewski and Klaudia Łopuszyńska-Stachyra from RPN and DSc Robert Mysłajek from UW.

     

    Bat conservation is important not only for biodiversity conservation but also for utilitarian reasons. Bats living in Europe feed mainly on insects, among which many species destroy crops and cause damage to forestry, thus these mammals provide humans with many valuable ecosystem services,” comments co-author of the study, PhD Robert Mysłajek.

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