White-nose syndrome (WNS) and the increased development of wind-power facilities are threatening populations of insectivorous bats in North America. Bats are voracious predators of nocturnal insects, including many crop and forest pests. We present here analyses suggesting that loss of bats in North America could lead to agricultural losses estimated at more than $3.7 billion/year. Urgent efforts are needed to educate the public and policy-makers about the ecological and economic importance of insectivorous bats and to provide practical conservation solutions.
Justin G. Boyles*
Paul M. Cryan†
Gary F. McCracken‡
Thomas H. Kunz§
*Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa.
†U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Collins Science Center, Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA.
‡Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA.
§Center for Ecology and Conservation Biology, Department of Biology, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA.
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