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Bat overpasses as an alternative solution to restore habitat connectivity in the context of road requalification
- Claireau, Fabien, Bas, Yves, Julien, Jean-François, Machon, Nathalie, Allegrini, Benjamin, Puechmaille, Sébastien J., Kerbiriou, Christian
- Ecological engineering 2019 v.131 pp. 34-38
- Chiroptera, acoustics, flight, foraging, habitat connectivity, habitat fragmentation, roads, wildlife
- Roads have a multitude of negative effects on wildlife, including their prominent role in habitat fragmentation. Habitat fragmentation particularly affects bats during their nightly movements between roosts and foraging areas. Bat overpasses are among the proposed improvements intended to reduce the fragmentation impact of roads, but they have rarely been tested. In this study, we performed a Before-After Control-Impact analysis (BACI) to assess the efficiency of one bat overpass on the number of bat crossings, by using an acoustic flight path reconstruction (AFPR) approach. We obtained 888 bat crossings of five taxa. Our results showed that the number of bat crossings increased significantly after the installation of the bat overpass. Finally, we demonstrated that an overpass correctly placed with respect to a narrow commuting route (a twenty-meter-wide hedgerow) could efficiently restore bat habitat connectivity.