Habitat edge context and the distribution of phyllostomid bats in the Andean forest and anthropogenic matrix in the Central Andes of Colombia
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Bats play an important role in the ecosystem as seed dispersers, pollinators and pest controllers. In particular, frugivorous bats are important for regeneration processes in open and degraded areas, because they disperse the seeds of pioneer plant species, which are essential for succession. Depending on the type of habitat that is established at the fragment edge, resources and bat movement patterns toward open areas can be affected. The structure and composition of bats was compared between two ‘interior-edge-pasture’ gradients, in an Andean forest fragment located at the Reserva Natural la Montaña del Ocaso (Quindío, Colombia). The two edge-types considered were forest-edge and bamboo-edge (Guadua angustifolia, Poaceae), both located in the same fragment. Bat abundance was significantly different in the two edge habitats. The forest-edge is a soft edge, in that it allows bat species to move from the interior of the forest to the pasture in front of it. In contrast, the bamboo-edge can be defined as semi-permeable, because it allows less movement of species and individuals from the interior to the pasture. Here we evaluate the possible effects of habitat edge type on bat movement in degraded areas in the main coffee producing region of Colombia.