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Shade-grown coffee plantations serves as imp commuting routes for bats: Study

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

serves as an important commuting route for bats and if properly managed, these plantations can have significant ecological value for bats, a new study has said.

The study, published in the journal PLoS One, looked at farms in that blend tree cover with agricultural crops.

Since agricultural landscapes occupy almost 40 per cent of the planet's ice-free land area, they hold immense potential for biodiversity conservation - if properly managed, it said.

The study, authored by and from the for Biological Sciences (India) in collaboration with Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS) Krithi K Karanth, finds that has some new fans - bats.

It said shade-grown coffee plantations are particularly important in this regard due to their structural similarity to forests and significant vegetation diversity.

"In India, surprisingly little is known about how insectivorous bats respond to human-induced changes in their habitat despite their common place nature and immense potential in regulating insects.

"We chose to focus on coffee farms because it is cultivated in the biodiversity rich areas of Western Ghats. We show that, in district, coffee offers important areas for commuting and also perhaps feeding, for insect-eating bats. While this is encouraging, more studies are needed to understand how specific species cope with these changes," said Ongole.

Using acoustic monitors that record sounds, the team detected a total of nine species across 20 coffee plantations.

Of the species found, five belonged to the Vesper (Vespertilionidae) family, while four belonged to the horseshoe (Rhinolophidae) and leaf-nosed bat (Hipposideridae) families, the study said.

"Our study showed that some bat species are coffee lovers.

"Properly managed shade-grown coffee plantations can have significant ecological value for bats, birds, insects and mammals an important finding as more land is converted to agricultural, with coffee the most widespread crop grown in 50 tropical countries," said Dr Karanth of the Centre for Wildlife Studies (India).

The authors further said research is needed to determine if future management decisions on plantations could affect more sensitive bat species.

Measuring provided by bats, such as pest control, can further inform biodiversity conservation initiatives in local coffee landscapes, it added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, September 24 2018. 19:25 IST
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