Data from: Do riparian forest strips in modified forest landscapes aid in conserving bat diversity?
Carrasco-Rueda, Farah; Loiselle, Bette A. (2019), Data from: Do riparian forest strips in modified forest landscapes aid in conserving bat diversity?, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3td78sk
Agricultural practices lead to losses of natural resources and biodiversity. Maintaining forests alongside streams (riparian forest strips) has been used as a mechanism to minimize the impact of clearing for agriculture on biodiversity. To test the contribution of riparian forest strips to conserve biodiversity in production landscapes, we selected bats as a biodiversity model system and examined two dimensions of diversity: taxonomic and functional. We compared bat diversity and composition in forest, with and without stream habitat, and in narrow forest riparian strips surrounded by areas cleared for agriculture. We tested the hypothesis that riparian forest strips provide potential conservation value by providing habitat and serving as movement corridors for forest bat species. Riparian forest strips maintained 75% of the bat species registered in forested habitats. We found assemblage in sites with riparian forest strips were dominated by a few species with high abundance and included several species with low abundance. Bat species assemblage was more similar between sites with streams than between those sites to forests without stream habitat. These results highlight the importance of stream habitat in predicting presence of bat species. We registered similar number of guilds between forest sites and riparian forest strips sites. Relative to matrix habitats, stream and edge habitats in riparian forest strips sites were functionally more diverse, supporting our hypothesis about the potential conservation value of riparian forest strips. Results from this study suggest that maintaining riparian forest strips within cleared areas for agricultural areas help conserve the taxonomic and functional diversity of bats. Also, it provides basic data to evaluate the efficacy of maintaining these landscape features for mitigating impacts of agricultural development on biodiversity. However, we caution that riparian forest strips alone are not sufficient for biodiversity maintenance; their value depend on maintenance of larger forest areas in their vicinity.