White-nose syndrome (WNS) and the increased development of wind-power facilities are threatening populations of insectivorous bats in North America. Bats are voracious predators of nocturnal insects, including many crop and forest pests.
An analysis by Justin Boyles, Paul Cryan, Gary McCracken and Thomas Kunz (see their impeccable credentials, below), Economic Importance of Bats in Agriculture, suggests that the loss of bats in North America could lead to agricultural losses estimated at more than $3.7 billion/year.
In addition to being a major migratory flyway for migrating songbirds, waterfowl, hawks and owls and breeding territory for Species at Risk, including Blanding’s Turtle and Whip-poor-will, the South Shore IBA is a migration staging area for bats, Monarch butterflies and dragonflies.
Urgent efforts are needed to educate the public and policy-makers about the ecological and economic importance of insectivorous bats and to provide practical conservation solutions.
Justin G. Boyles – Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
Paul M. Cryan – U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Collins Science Center, Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA.
Gary F. McCracken – Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA.
Thomas H. Kunz – Center for Ecology and Conservation Biology, Department of Biology,BostonUniversity,Boston,MA02215,USA.
Original Source: National Wind Watch