Conservation importance of limestone karst outcrops for Palaeotropical bats in a fragmented landscape

Matthew J. Struebig, Tigga Kingston, Zubaid Akbar Mukhtar Ahmad, Steven C. Le Comber, Adura Mohd-Adnan, Anthony Turner, Joanne Kelly, Monika Bozek, Stephen J. Rossiter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Limestone karst landscapes are important for biodiversity yet are increasingly threatened by development activities such as mining. Furthermore, karsts are often scattered and isolated by agriculture, and are rarely considered in landscape planning because of a paucity of biodiversity data. We determined the conservation significance of an isolated limestone karst outcrop for insectivorous bats by quantifying the influence of this roosting resource on local assemblage structure across a fragmented landscape in peninsular Malaysia. Using a combination of rank abundance, gradient and randomisation analyses, we demonstrate that bat assemblages at nine forest sites are structured following a spatial gradient of increasing distance from a karst roosting resource. The assemblage at our karst site was dominated by a superabundance of three cave-roosting species, two of which were also found to dominate assemblages up to 11 km away. Cave-roosting bats exhibited a significant decay in abundance related to the distance from karst, with sites closest to karst also characterised by a rarity of tree cavity/foliage-roosting species that were otherwise common. Gradient analysis revealed that differences in assemblage composition were largely associated with the distance from the karst and, to a lesser extent, forest isolation and area. Our findings suggest that isolated karst outcrops can serve as important population reservoirs for cave-roosting bats, which subsidise diversity levels in forest fragments that might otherwise be expected to decline over time. While conservation efforts need to focus on maintaining large areas of connected forest, landscape management needs to ensure protection of karsts as point resources for cave-roosting bats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2089-2096
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Conservation
Volume142
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009

Fingerprint

bat
karsts
limestone
Chiroptera
karst
roosting
outcrop
caves
cave
resource
biodiversity
gradient analysis
tree cavities
landscape planning
landscape management
rarity
habitat fragmentation
Malaysia
foliage
cavity

Keywords

  • Cave
  • Chiroptera
  • Distance decay
  • Forest fragmentation
  • Gradient
  • Malaysia
  • Mining
  • Spatial subsidy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

Cite this

Struebig, M. J., Kingston, T., Mukhtar Ahmad, Z. A., Le Comber, S. C., Mohd-Adnan, A., Turner, A., ... Rossiter, S. J. (2009). Conservation importance of limestone karst outcrops for Palaeotropical bats in a fragmented landscape. Biological Conservation, 142(10), 2089-2096. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2009.04.005

Conservation importance of limestone karst outcrops for Palaeotropical bats in a fragmented landscape. / Struebig, Matthew J.; Kingston, Tigga; Mukhtar Ahmad, Zubaid Akbar; Le Comber, Steven C.; Mohd-Adnan, Adura; Turner, Anthony; Kelly, Joanne; Bozek, Monika; Rossiter, Stephen J.

In: Biological Conservation, Vol. 142, No. 10, 10.2009, p. 2089-2096.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Struebig, MJ, Kingston, T, Mukhtar Ahmad, ZA, Le Comber, SC, Mohd-Adnan, A, Turner, A, Kelly, J, Bozek, M & Rossiter, SJ 2009, 'Conservation importance of limestone karst outcrops for Palaeotropical bats in a fragmented landscape', Biological Conservation, vol. 142, no. 10, pp. 2089-2096. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2009.04.005
Struebig MJ, Kingston T, Mukhtar Ahmad ZA, Le Comber SC, Mohd-Adnan A, Turner A et al. Conservation importance of limestone karst outcrops for Palaeotropical bats in a fragmented landscape. Biological Conservation. 2009 Oct;142(10):2089-2096. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2009.04.005
Struebig, Matthew J. ; Kingston, Tigga ; Mukhtar Ahmad, Zubaid Akbar ; Le Comber, Steven C. ; Mohd-Adnan, Adura ; Turner, Anthony ; Kelly, Joanne ; Bozek, Monika ; Rossiter, Stephen J. / Conservation importance of limestone karst outcrops for Palaeotropical bats in a fragmented landscape. In: Biological Conservation. 2009 ; Vol. 142, No. 10. pp. 2089-2096.
@article{573fd95cdf454aaeae0cfe85d4ecf9a8,
title = "Conservation importance of limestone karst outcrops for Palaeotropical bats in a fragmented landscape",
abstract = "Limestone karst landscapes are important for biodiversity yet are increasingly threatened by development activities such as mining. Furthermore, karsts are often scattered and isolated by agriculture, and are rarely considered in landscape planning because of a paucity of biodiversity data. We determined the conservation significance of an isolated limestone karst outcrop for insectivorous bats by quantifying the influence of this roosting resource on local assemblage structure across a fragmented landscape in peninsular Malaysia. Using a combination of rank abundance, gradient and randomisation analyses, we demonstrate that bat assemblages at nine forest sites are structured following a spatial gradient of increasing distance from a karst roosting resource. The assemblage at our karst site was dominated by a superabundance of three cave-roosting species, two of which were also found to dominate assemblages up to 11 km away. Cave-roosting bats exhibited a significant decay in abundance related to the distance from karst, with sites closest to karst also characterised by a rarity of tree cavity/foliage-roosting species that were otherwise common. Gradient analysis revealed that differences in assemblage composition were largely associated with the distance from the karst and, to a lesser extent, forest isolation and area. Our findings suggest that isolated karst outcrops can serve as important population reservoirs for cave-roosting bats, which subsidise diversity levels in forest fragments that might otherwise be expected to decline over time. While conservation efforts need to focus on maintaining large areas of connected forest, landscape management needs to ensure protection of karsts as point resources for cave-roosting bats.",
keywords = "Cave, Chiroptera, Distance decay, Forest fragmentation, Gradient, Malaysia, Mining, Spatial subsidy",
author = "Struebig, {Matthew J.} and Tigga Kingston and {Mukhtar Ahmad}, {Zubaid Akbar} and {Le Comber}, {Steven C.} and Adura Mohd-Adnan and Anthony Turner and Joanne Kelly and Monika Bozek and Rossiter, {Stephen J.}",
year = "2009",
month = "10",
doi = "10.1016/j.biocon.2009.04.005",
language = "English",
volume = "142",
pages = "2089--2096",
journal = "Biological Conservation",
issn = "0006-3207",
publisher = "Elsevier BV",
number = "10",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Conservation importance of limestone karst outcrops for Palaeotropical bats in a fragmented landscape

AU - Struebig, Matthew J.

AU - Kingston, Tigga

AU - Mukhtar Ahmad, Zubaid Akbar

AU - Le Comber, Steven C.

AU - Mohd-Adnan, Adura

AU - Turner, Anthony

AU - Kelly, Joanne

AU - Bozek, Monika

AU - Rossiter, Stephen J.

PY - 2009/10

Y1 - 2009/10

N2 - Limestone karst landscapes are important for biodiversity yet are increasingly threatened by development activities such as mining. Furthermore, karsts are often scattered and isolated by agriculture, and are rarely considered in landscape planning because of a paucity of biodiversity data. We determined the conservation significance of an isolated limestone karst outcrop for insectivorous bats by quantifying the influence of this roosting resource on local assemblage structure across a fragmented landscape in peninsular Malaysia. Using a combination of rank abundance, gradient and randomisation analyses, we demonstrate that bat assemblages at nine forest sites are structured following a spatial gradient of increasing distance from a karst roosting resource. The assemblage at our karst site was dominated by a superabundance of three cave-roosting species, two of which were also found to dominate assemblages up to 11 km away. Cave-roosting bats exhibited a significant decay in abundance related to the distance from karst, with sites closest to karst also characterised by a rarity of tree cavity/foliage-roosting species that were otherwise common. Gradient analysis revealed that differences in assemblage composition were largely associated with the distance from the karst and, to a lesser extent, forest isolation and area. Our findings suggest that isolated karst outcrops can serve as important population reservoirs for cave-roosting bats, which subsidise diversity levels in forest fragments that might otherwise be expected to decline over time. While conservation efforts need to focus on maintaining large areas of connected forest, landscape management needs to ensure protection of karsts as point resources for cave-roosting bats.

AB - Limestone karst landscapes are important for biodiversity yet are increasingly threatened by development activities such as mining. Furthermore, karsts are often scattered and isolated by agriculture, and are rarely considered in landscape planning because of a paucity of biodiversity data. We determined the conservation significance of an isolated limestone karst outcrop for insectivorous bats by quantifying the influence of this roosting resource on local assemblage structure across a fragmented landscape in peninsular Malaysia. Using a combination of rank abundance, gradient and randomisation analyses, we demonstrate that bat assemblages at nine forest sites are structured following a spatial gradient of increasing distance from a karst roosting resource. The assemblage at our karst site was dominated by a superabundance of three cave-roosting species, two of which were also found to dominate assemblages up to 11 km away. Cave-roosting bats exhibited a significant decay in abundance related to the distance from karst, with sites closest to karst also characterised by a rarity of tree cavity/foliage-roosting species that were otherwise common. Gradient analysis revealed that differences in assemblage composition were largely associated with the distance from the karst and, to a lesser extent, forest isolation and area. Our findings suggest that isolated karst outcrops can serve as important population reservoirs for cave-roosting bats, which subsidise diversity levels in forest fragments that might otherwise be expected to decline over time. While conservation efforts need to focus on maintaining large areas of connected forest, landscape management needs to ensure protection of karsts as point resources for cave-roosting bats.

KW - Cave

KW - Chiroptera

KW - Distance decay

KW - Forest fragmentation

KW - Gradient

KW - Malaysia

KW - Mining

KW - Spatial subsidy

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=68349155852&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=68349155852&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.biocon.2009.04.005

DO - 10.1016/j.biocon.2009.04.005

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:68349155852

VL - 142

SP - 2089

EP - 2096

JO - Biological Conservation

JF - Biological Conservation

SN - 0006-3207

IS - 10

ER -