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Prescribed fire and bats

by Dr. Joy O’Keefe, Director of the Center for Bat Research, Outreach, and Conservation


With bat populations declining due to white-nose syndrome and other factors, it is critical to strike a balance between the use of prescribed fire for managing natural areas and the need to protect bats and their critical habitats. Prescribed fire has the potential to benefit bats by restoring pines and oaks, and by reducing understory clutter. However, bats may be negatively affected by fire during critical life stages. In this webinar, Dr. O'Keefe will discuss the potential indirect and direct effects of prescribed fire on bats, with a focus on threatened and endangered forest-dwelling bats. We will consider how fire may affect different bat species by season, as bats have distinctly seasonal life cycles (winter hibernation, spring emergence/migration, summer maternity period, and fall migration/mating).