Addressing Threats to Bats of North America

This section provides links to separate pages for each of the main categories of threats facing North American bats. Each page begins with a brief description and definition of the main threats, followed by information on the current state of knowledge for how to address that threat.

If you have experience or expertise in ways to address a particular threat, we encourage you to review the proposed text and, if appropriate, add your new information to the page (you must be signed in to edit content).

Residential & Commercial Development
The impacts of industrial (including military bases) and urban development on habitat and associated impacts including: loss of foraging and roosting habitats due to development, water loss and degradation, light, noise, and air pollution and predation by domestic pets.
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Annual and Perennial Non-timber Crops
The impacts of agricultural crops (food, fodder, fiber, and fuel), but not timber operations, on foraging and roosting habitat and associated impacts.
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Wood & Pulp Plantations
The impacts of timber monocultures and plantations, but not timber harvesting in semi-natural systems (non-plantation), on foraging and roosting habitat. Includes impacts such as loss of habitat diversity, loss of roosting sites (e.g. cavities) and decreased insect prey abundance and diversity.
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Livestock Farming & Ranching
The impacts of farming and ranching operations on foraging and roosting habitat. Includes impacts such as loss of habitat diversity and water loss and degradation due to livestock.
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Oil & Gas Drilling
The impacts of oil and natural gas exploration and drilling on foraging and roosting habitat, including the footprint of the energy infrastructure (but not including pipelines) and associated impacts such as, water degradation and loss, water contamination due to waste ponds, insect prey loss or contamination due to oil spills and gas leaks and toxic impact of oil spill due to bioaccumulation.
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Mining Quarrying
The impacts of mining and quarry activity on natural caves and abandoned mines that are active or potential roosting and hibernating sites for bats, including the impacts of re-opening abandoned mines for coal and rare metals, sealing (blasting or backfilling) abandoned mines for human liability concerns, negative impacts of gates designed to prevent human disturbance, water degradation and pollution due to sediment and chemical runoff, habitat loss (roosting and foraging) due to expansion of mining operations and impact of guano harvesting.
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Renewable Energy
The impacts of exploring, developing, and producing renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal power but not hydropower) on roosting and foraging habitat, as well as direct mortality of bats. Potential impacts include, mortality due to collision with wind turbines or barotrauma, habitat loss due to conversion of land for infrastructure footprint, negative impact of reflective surfaces on foraging ecology of bats (turbine monopoles and solar panels) and water degradation and pollution due to geothermal ponds.
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Road & Railroads
The impacts of transportation infrastructure, including highways, paved roads, logging roads, bridges, and railroads, on roosting and foraging habitat, as well as direct mortality of bats. Potential impacts include habitat loss due to expansion of transportation infrastructure, mortality due to collision with vehicles (‘road-kill’), negative impacts of bridge construction and maintenance on day and night roosts and disturbance and barrier effects of infrastructure on commuting and foraging.
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Utility & Service Lines
The impacts of utility infrastructure, including electrical & phone corridors, cell phone & communication towers, oil & gas pipelines, and aqueducts, on roosting and foraging habitat, as well as direct mortality of bats. Potential impacts include habitat loss due to infrastructure footprint, human disturbance due to increased access to remote areas, mortality due to collision with infrastructure or electrocution and negative impacts of aqueduct maintenance on seasonal roosts and hibernacula.
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Scientific Collection or Disturbance for Research
The impacts of collection or disturbance of bats for research. Potential impacts include collection of bats for education (e.g. museum), collection of bats for public health sampling (e.g. rabies and WNS), collection of bats for research purposes, disturbance of roosting or hibernating bats due to scientific research and potential injury or mortality of bats as a direct result of scientific research.
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Pest Control & Eviction/Eradication
The impacts of evicting and/or eradicating bats from roosts. Potential impacts include negative impact of pest control (poisoning, shooting, and trapping) activities, negative impact of physical exclusion on maternity colonies in buildings and eradication of bats for misperceived or inflated dangers (e.g. vampire bats).
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Logging & Wood Harvesting
The impacts of forestry practices (including clear-cutting, selective logging, fuel wood collection, and charcoal production) in a semi-natural environment (non-plantation) that alter forested habitats used by bats for foraging and roosting. Potential impacts include direct loss of roost trees and roosting habitat, mortality from removal of occupied roost trees and negative impact of logging on insect prey abundance and diversity.
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Recreational Activities
The unintentional impacts of human recreational activities, including off-road vehicles, biking, hiking, camping, caving, and rock-climbing on bats. Potential impacts include direct loss of foraging or roosting habitat due to recreation infrastructure, noise and light pollution, disturbance impact of commercial caving and ecotourism, disturbance impact of recreational caving and disturbance impact of rock-climbing on cliff-roosting bats.
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Non-Recreational Activities: Vandalism
The impact on bats of non-recreational activities, including vandalism. Potential impacts include direct loss of roosting habitat or hibernacula due to vandalism and disturbance of roosting or hibernating bats due to vandalism.
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Fire & Fire Suppression
The impact of fire suppression and fire management activities on foraging and roosting habitat. Potential impacts include mortality and/or disturbance of bats due to prescribed fire activities, loss of habitat diversity due to fire suppression (or lack thereof), reduction in insect prey abundance or diversity due to fire suppression (or lack thereof), loss of roosting habitat due to fire suppression and toxicity of fire suppressant chemicals on house-roosting bats.
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Dams & Water Management/Use
The impact of changing water flow patterns on roosting and foraging habitat. Potential impacts include loss of flowing streams for drinking and/or insect prey habitat, loss of surface streams and water bodies due to redirection of rivers, loss of foraging or roosting habitat due to inundation by surface water diversion, change in insect prey abundance or diversity due to altered water flow regimes, change in insect prey abundance or diversity due to wetland filling for mosquito control, disturbance of summer roosts and hibernacula within rock/talus levees and dikes and disturbance or loss of summer roosts and hibernacula due to dam maintenance.
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Other Ecosystem Modifications
The impact of many small-scale ecosystem management activities that convert or degrade habitat to improve human welfare. Potential impacts include the impact of land reclamation projects on foraging and roosting habitat, the impact of mowing grasses in service corridors on insect prey abundance, the impact of pesticides in service corridors on insect prey abundance and bat morbidity, loss of roosting and foraging habitat due to tree thinning activities in parks and loss of roosting habitat or insect prey diversity from removing snags in streams.
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Invasive Non-native/Alien Species Plants & Animals
The impact of harmful plants and animals (but not pathogens or microbes) not originally found within the ecosystem. Potential impacts include the impact of non-native invasive trees, shrubs, and vines on roosting habitat, the impact of non-native insect species on insect prey diversity and abundance, the impact of non-native insect species on forested habitats, mortality of bats due to feral and domestic pets and mortality of bats due to introduction of non-native predators.
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Pathogens & Microbes
The impact of pathogens and microbes on foraging and roosting habitats, as well as the impact of pathogens on bats directly. Potential impacts include the impact of White-Nose Syndrome on hibernating bats, the loss of forested habitat due to Dutch Elm disease, chestnut blight, and other fungal agents and the impact of rabies and other lyssa viruses on bats.
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Pollution
The impact of noise, light, water, and air pollution on bats and bat habitat. This includes the associated impacts of water quality such as insect prey abundance and diversity, as well as the potential toxicity impacts of drinking contaminated water. Potential impacts include the impact of municipal waste and household sewage discharge on water quality, the impact of industrial, military, and mining effluents on water quality, the impact of nutrient loading and chemical runoff from agriculture on water quality, the impact of artificial lighting on foraging activity and prey insect diversity and abundance, the impact of ultrasound and other noise sources on the foraging ecology of bats and the impact of thermal water pollution (from power plant discharges or other sources) on prey insect diversity and abundance.
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Climate Change
The impact of changes in climate patterns on bats and bat habitat. This includes potential impacts such as large-scale shifts in ecosystems (‘ecosystem encroachment’) that reduce the quantity of quality of foraging or roosting habitat, broad-scale changes in temperature (both means and seasonal variability) that negatively impact suitability of foraging or roosting habitat, including hibernacula, changes in timing of precipitation that negatively impacts the seasonal phenology of bats in terms of prey availability or energy budgets, changes in timing or extent of precipitation that alters hydrological cycles to an extent that impacts foraging habitat or insect prey abundance and impacts of severe storms (both frequency and severity) on foraging and roosting habitat of bats.
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