High similarity between a bat-serviced plant assemblage and that used by humans


Indigenous custodians manage important forest areas and have vital roles in biodiversity conservation in the Pacific, but their understanding of the role of bats in rainforest function is limited, and their perception of bats often negative, possibly compromising opportunities for conservation. To determine whether bat and forest conservation could be mediated by the identification of services provided by bats, we assessed similarity between bat-serviced (pollination and seed dispersal) and people-valued forest plants in Fiji. In nearly 500 diet samples from all four Fiji flying-fox species, we found 37 pollen morphospecies associated with Notopteris macdonaldi, Pteropus samoensis, and Pteropustonganus. Thirteen morphospecies overlapped among bats, but were used in different proportions. No fruit was recorded in the diet of N. macdonaldi. Twenty-two fruit species groups (co-generic species that could not be distinguished) were recorded for Pteropus spp. A rainforest plant community represented by a survey of 2983 plants contained 75% of species groups valued by people (medicinal, cultural, economic uses), and bats serviced at least 42% of these species (96% valued by humans). The high similarity between bat and human resources (Sørensen’s coefficient, SS = 0.68) increased in a sub-sample of the 30 most abundant tree genera (SS = 0.80). Plant endemism was high in the rainforest community (70%). Most endemic species were valued by people (SS = 0.78 for abundant trees) and serviced by bats (SS = 0.77). The great overlap between the plant assemblage benefiting from bat services and that valued by humans indicates that conservation approaches tailored to individual communities could be developed to promote bat conservation in traditionally-owned landscapes where negative perception of bats exists.


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Megabats and Microbats: High similarity between a bat-serviced plant assemblage and that used by humans
High similarity between a bat-serviced plant assemblage and that used by humans
High similarity between a bat-serviced plant assemblage and that used by humans
Megabats and Microbats
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