, Volume 19, Issue 7, pp 2111-2124
Date: 25 Mar 2010

Abundance responses of frugivorous bats (Stenodermatinae) to coffee cultivation and selective logging practices in mountainous central Veracruz, Mexico

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Shifting and permanent cultivation, selective logging, cattle production and coffee plantations are among the most important factors in montane cloud forest conversion and disturbance. Although shaded-coffee plantations can contribute to the preservation of local species richness, abundance of organisms could be determined by habitat resource availability in agricultural landscapes. We compared abundance of Sturnira and Artibeus bats (Phyllostomidae, Stenodermatinae), in shade coffee plantations and disturbed cloud forest fragments, which represent habitats with different chiropterochorous plant density. We also investigated the relationship between bat species abundance and food plant richness, abundance and diversity. We captured 956 bats, 76% in cloud forest fragments and 24% in shaded coffee plantations. Abundance of Sturnira spp. (small bats) was greater in cloud forest than in coffee plantations, but Artibeus spp. (large bats) abundance was similar in both habitats. Chiropterochorous plant abundance was positively related with bat abundance for Sturnira spp., while chiropterochorous plant richness and diversity were negatively related for Artibeus spp. This suggests that frugivorous bats with different morphological and ecological characteristics respond differentially to anthropogenic activities. For landscape management purposes, the maintenance and augmentation of diverse food resources, for frugivorous bats with different foraging requirements in coffee plantations, will benefit the resilience of bats to modification of their natural habitat.