The North American Bats and Mines Project : a cooperative approach for integrating bat conservation and mine-land reclamation Ducummon, Sheryl L.
Inactive underground mines now provide essential habitat for over half of North America's 45 bat species. However, thousands of abandoned mines have already been closed or are slated for safety closures, and many are destroyed during renewed mining. The available evidence suggests that millions of bats have already been lost due to these closures. Bats are primary predators of insects that cost farmers and foresters billions of dollars annually, therefore, threats to bat survival are cause for serious concern. Fortunately, mine closure methods exist that protect both bats and humans. Bat Conservation International and the USDI-Bureau of Land Management founded the North American Bats and Mines Project to provide leadership and coordination to minimize mine-roosting bats losses. This partnership involves federal, state, and local officials and the mining industry. BCI has trained hundreds of managers in bat/mine assessment techniques and bat-compatible closure methods, published technical bat/mine information, presented papers at national mining and wildlife conferences, and collaborated with numerous government and private partners to protect the most important mine-roosting bat populations. Our new initiative, Mining for Habitat, helps mining companies and private landowners develop bat habitat conservation and enhancement plans including bat education, surveys, mitigation, and even artificial roost creation.
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