Aerial insectivorous bat responses to 30 years of forest insularization in a dam-created Amazonian archipelagic landscape

Raffaello Di Ponzio, Guthieri Teixeira Colombo, Thiago Bicudo, Maíra Benchimol, Maria João Ramos Pereira, Carlos A. Peres, Paulo Estefano D. Bobrowiec

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Mega dams result in habitat loss and fragmentation in lowland tropical forests, compromising the diversity and ecosystem functioning in remnant habitat islands. We investigated the structure of aerial insectivorous bat assemblages within insular forest patches created by a vast ∼30-year-old hydropower reservoir and adjacent mainland continuous forests in Central Amazonia. Bats were surveyed using passive bat recorders across 34 sites. We assessed bat assemblage responses to landscape insularization and estimated the contribution of assemblage-wide components of β-diversity. Additionally, we assessed the effects of local vegetation, and both patch and landscape variables on bat species diversity. Continuous forest sites in the mainland retained higher species richness and bat activity compared to islands, leading to divergent species composition between forest sites. Larger islands (>100 ha) and continuous forests tended to share a similar assemblage composition manly drive by species richness differences with a minor contribution of species replacements. Moreover, local vegetation structure, island size, and landscape edge area exerted significant effects on species richness, bat activity, and species composition, with small degraded islands and landscapes dominated by forest edges exhibiting pervasive species loss. Our study highlights the detrimental impacts of forest fragmentation induced by large dams on aerial insectivorous bat assemblages. If new dam projects are inevitable, we recommend the creation of extensive protected areas in land-bridge island systems and their adjacent continuous forests. Those protected sites can minimize the negative impacts of small islands, safeguarding forest quality for forest-dependent bats, which ensures the continuity of their ecosystem services.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110222
JournalBiological Conservation
Early online date9 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2023


  • Central Amazon
  • Chiroptera
  • Habitat fragmentation
  • Hydropower projects
  • Land-bridge systems
  • Landscape ecology

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