Comparative study of bat activity above and below the canopy in the Palatinate Forest area

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All of the 18 bat species which are verified for the area of Palatinate are listed in the Red Lists of Rhineland-Palatinate, as well as in the annex IV of the FFH habitats directive as “strictly protected”.
Besides habitat loss, intensification of agriculture and construction of new roads, wind turbines are serious threads for bats. Because of the turnaround of the energy policy the number of renewable energy plants, including wind turbines, will rise even further in the next years. The city of Landau plans building up to nine wind turbines at the “Taubensuhl” in the middle of the Palatinate Forest.
Previous studies show significantly higher risks for bats to die from wind turbines which are located in closed forest areas than ones built on plain lands. On the other hand there are very few studies which examine differences in bat distribution on vertical levels in forests. Especially the area above the canopy is not studied very well. This might be important since most studies to bat activity are conducted from the ground.
My goal is find out if there are differences in the occurrence of bat species below and above the canopy or not, and therefor if bat studies from the ground can deliver representative results for all heights in the study area.


To do this, I will use five observation towers located in the Palatinate forest. By installing three batcorders which automatically record ultrasonic bat calls at a 10 m radius throughout the night, one each on the ground, at canopy height and above, I will be able to determine the bat species which occur at different heights (see sketch).
I will also use “Biosphärenturm”, a research tower built by the University Kaiserslautern, and a tower of the “canopy path” which is part of the “Biosphärenhaus” in Fischbach as study sites.

Contact Details

Arne Jach
Dr. Carsten Brühl
Institute of Environmental Sciences
University of Koblenz-Landau
Fortstraße 7
76829 Landau