Responses of Bats to Forest Fragmentation in the Mississippi River Alluvial Valley, Arkansas, USA


"Intense conversion of bottomland hardwood forests to rice and soybeans in the Mississippi River Valley of Arkansas has restricted the remaining forest to isolated fragments. Habitat fragmentation has proven to be detrimental to population sustainability of several species, and is the subject of intense study with often species and latitude specific responses. We compared both coarse land area classes and landscape fragmentation metrics from six 30 km × 30 km subsets centered on publicly owned management areas to bat captures obtained from a 2005 population study. Patch density was the strongest predictor of total captures (R2 = 0.801, p = 0.016) and of Myotis austroriparius captures (R2 = 0.856, p = 0.008). Our findings indicate that patch density and area are important predictors of bottomland bat captures."



GIS, conservation, bats, landscape change, ecology