Activity of Insectivorous Bats in Organic Rice Fields is Higher than in Conventional Rice Fields: A Preliminary Study -
Ponsarut Boonchuay and Sara Bumrungsri
Bat species have severely declined over recent years, and the main drive was likely the loss and degradation of foraging habitat because of agricultural intensi?cation. We evaluated the effect of agricultural intensification by comparing bat activity between organic and conventional rice fields in Southern Thailand. The study was conducted between November 2016 and February 2017 on 17 pairs of rice paddies in Phatthalung province. Bat activity was quanti?ed using acoustic surveys by ultrasonic detector (Anabat). Insect samples were collected in both rice field types, and insect biomass was calculated. The total bat activity was signi?cantly higher in the organic rice fields than in the conventional rice fields (P < 0.05). The dominant species on both types of rice field was Myotis horsfieldii and M. muricola. Signi?cantly more passes of Myotis species were recorded on organic rice fields than on conventional rice fields (P < 0.05). In addition, bat activity was positively associated with total insect abundance and total insect biomass (P < 0.05). The higher bat activity in organic riced field may be resulted from the presence of hedgerow along field boundary and higher insect biomass in organic rice field. This study highlights that bat can be affected by agricultural management. It is suggesting that eco-friendly farming can be positive to biodiversity including insectivorous bats.