Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 449–469 | Cite as

Bats of Borneo: diversity, distributions and representation in protected areas

  • Matthew J. Struebig
  • Lenny Christy
  • Dorothea Pio
  • Erik Meijaard
Original Paper


Protected areas are valuable in conserving tropical biodiversity, but an insufficient understanding of species diversity and distributions makes it difficult to evaluate their effectiveness. This is especially true on Borneo, a species rich island shared by three countries, and is particularly concerning for bats, a poorly known component of mammal diversity that may be highly susceptible to landscape changes. We reviewed the diversity, distributions and conservation status of 54 bat species to determine the representation of these taxa in Borneo’s protected areas, and whether these reserves complement each other in terms of bat diversity. Lower and upper bound estimates of bat species composition were characterised in 23 protected areas and the proposed boundaries of the Heart of Borneo conservation area. We used lower and upper bound estimates of species composition. By using actual inventories, species representation was highly irregular, and even if some reserves were included in the Heart of Borneo, the protected area network would still exhibit low complementarity. By inferring species presence from distributions, composition between most reserves was similar, and complementarity was much higher. Predicting species richness using abundance information suggested that bat species representation in reserves may lie between these two extremes. We recommend that researchers better sample biodiversity over the island and address the conservation threats faced in Borneo both within and outside protected areas. While the Heart of Borneo Initiative is commendable, it should not divert attention from other conservation areas.


Heart of Borneo Chiroptera Gap analysis Species richness prediction Southeast Asia Forest Tropical conservation Indonesia Malaysia Brunei 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew J. Struebig
    • 1
  • Lenny Christy
    • 2
  • Dorothea Pio
    • 3
  • Erik Meijaard
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Biological and Chemical SciencesQueen Mary University of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.The Nature Conservancy, East Kalimantan ProgramBalikpapanIndonesia
  3. 3.Department of Ecology and Evolution, BiophoreUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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