The Australian summer of 2019/20 was impacted by megafires of a magnitude and severity never previously recorded. Whilst low severity fire has positive benefits for increased insectivorous bat activity and diversity, little information is available on the impact on rainforest specialised clutter dependant species such as the Golden-tipped Bat Phoniscus papuensis. Our aims were to assess the effects of fire on occupancy of habitat across the geographic range of P. papuensis in NSW, to determine the smaller scale effects of fire on use of diurnal roosts in rainforest through radio tracking and to trial the use of artificial structures to temporarily increase roost availability in burnt habitat. We observed that widespread fire encroaching on rainforest has a negative association with occupancy by P. papuensis, with this metric ~78% lower than in unburnt forest. In burnt areas, P. papuensis preferentially used unburnt refugia for their roosting sites in suspended bird nests and the loss of these habitat structures likely contributes to the disappearance of P. papuensis from the landscape. Artificial roosts were not used in the short-term (< 2 years post fire) and do not appear to be a feasible management tool. With the increasing frequency and extent of wildfires the most important factor for P. papuensis to persist in the landscape into the future is the protection of its habitat through ensuring sensitive management of large tracts of connected rainforest to help buffer against the encroachment of future mega-fires.

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