Tea tree plantations in the Western Ghats of India are having a negative impact on bat population diversity in the region, according to a new study.
Different bat species can perform these varied ecological functions due to the physical features they have evolved, which help them specialise in hunting different prey across habitats. Bats with short, broad wings, for instance, are better suited to plucking off large insects on the wing, in densely-vegetated patches like the forests of the Ghats.
The study abstract shows that bat functional diversity was similar in shade coffee plantations and forest fragments to protected forests, while tea tree plantations contain far less diversity than coffee plantations. Coffee plantations did better because of native tree presence which is required for coffee growth; while protected areas and forest fragments were the most ‘functionally’ rich, according to TheHindu.com.