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The scientific merit of two opposing themes toward the conservation of Australian forest dwelling microchiroptera over the past four decades is reviewed. The initial theme throughout the 1960's and 1970's was of a vulnerable and threatened bat fauna - a contemporary view for which there is strong evidence. An opposing view, here termed the Adaptable Bat syndrome, emerged in the 1980's. Rather than being of conservation concern, bats were portrayed as resilient, adaptable ecological generalists that could not “reasonably” be considered at risk from human impacts. The Adaptable Bat is an unsophisticated perspective that has been utilised as an ideological counter-attack against societal concern with escalating environmental destruction. This perspective was adopted by some management agencies and many bat workers. It is a modified off-shoot of a more general assertion of the infinite resilience of nature and represents a societal mind set that can be described as the utilitarian ideology, i.e. the dominance of resource utilisation above all other considerations.

The chances of the long-term survival of bat fauna in forests used by the logging industry appear to be bleak because the ideology of the Adaptable Bat has dominated the agenda of biological assessments of the management, threat status and general biology of Australian bats for nearly 20 years. Perhaps the most significant lesson from the Adaptable Bat syndrome is that, like many issues in environmental management, the conservation of Australia's forest bats has everything to do with cultural, political and corporate influences, and very little to do with biological “facts”.

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Adams, R.A. 1995. Onset of volancy and foraging patterns of juvenile Little Brown Bats, Myotis lucifugus. Journal of Mammalogy 72: 239-46.
Ahern, L.D. 1982. Threatened wildlife in Victoria and issues related to its conservation. Fisheries and Wildlife Paper, Victoria. Paper number 27. Fisheries and Wildlife Division, Ministry for Conservation, Victoria.
Anthony, I.L.P. and Kunz, T.H. 1977. Feeding strategies of the Little Brown Bat, Myotis lucifugus in Southern New Hampshire. Ecology 58: 775-786.
Bell, G.P. 1980. Habitat use and response to patches of prey by desert insectivorous bats. Canadian Journal of Zoology 58: 1876-1883.
Belwood, J.J. and Fenton, M.B. 1976. Variation in the diet of Myotis lucifugus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae). Canadian Journal of Zoology 54: 1674-1678.
Belwood, J.J. and Fullard, J.H. 1984. Echolocation and foraging behaviour in the Hawaiian Hoary Bat, Lasiurus cinereus semotis. Canadian Journal of Zoology 62: 2113-2130.
Black, H.L. 1974. A north temperate bat community: structure and prey populations. Journal of Mammalogy 55: 138-157.
Braithwaite, L.W. 1984. The identification of conservation areas for possums and gliders within the Eden Woodpulp Concession District. Pp. 501-08 in Possums and Gliders, edited by A.P. Smith and I.D. Hume. Australian Mammal Society, Surrey Beatty and Sons, NSW.
Burbidge, A.A., Johnson, K.A., Fuller, P.J. and Southgate, R.I. 1988. Aboriginal knowledge of the mammals of the central deserts of Australia. Australian Wildlife Research 15: 9-39.
Burbidge, A.A. and McKenzie, N.L. 1989. Patterns in the modern decline of Western Australia's vertebrate fauna: causes and conservation implications. Biological Conservation 50: 143-98.
Calder, T.G., Golding, B.G. and Manderson, A.D. 1983. Management for Arboreal Species in the Wombat State Forest. Environmental Report No. 16. Graduate School of Environmental Science, Monash University, Melbourne.
CLMC (Conservation of Land Mammals Committee). 1992. Guidelines for the protection of bat roosts. Journal of Mammalogy 73: 707-10.
Cork, S.J. and Catling, P.C. 1996. Modelling distributions of arboreal and ground-dwelling mammals in relation to climate, nutrients, plant chemical defences and vegetation structure in the eucalypt forests of south-eastern Australia. Forest Ecology and Management 85: 163-75.
Cowley, R.L. 1971. Birds and forest management. Australian Forestry 35: 234-250.
DCFL (1988) Forest Management Guidelines for Wildlife Conservation. Draft Departmental Guideline 02/20/0001/1, Native Forest Management Section, Lands and Forest Division, Department of Conservation, Forests and Lands, Melbourne.
Dixon, J.M. 1989. Gould's Wattled Bat. Pp. 340 in The Australian Museum Complete Book of Australian Mammals, edited by R. Strahan. Angus and Robertson, Sydney.
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Duncan, A., Baker, G.B., and Montgomery, A. (eds). 1999 The Action Plan for Australian Bats. Environment Australia, Canberra.
Dunsmore, J.D., Hall, L.S. and Kottek, K.H. 1974. DDT in the Bent-winged Bat in Australia. Search 5: 110-11.
Dwyer, P.D. 1963. Save the cave-a pathway to fauna protection. Wildlife in Australia 2: 10-13.
Dwyer, P.D. 1965. Flight patterns of some eastern Australian bats. Victorian Naturalist 82: 36-41.
Dwyer, P.D. 1966. The population pattern of Miniopterus schreibersii (Chiroptera) in north-eastern New South Wales. Australian Journal of Zoology 14: 1073-1137.
Eby, P. and Lunney, D. (eds). 2002 Managing the Grey-headed Flying-fox as a threatened species in NSW. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman, NSW.
Fanning, F.D. 1995. Native fauna of the Tenterfield Management Area EIS Study. Tenterfield Management Area Environmental Impact Statement Supporting Document No. 4.
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Fenton, M.B. 1997. Science and the conservation of bats. Journal of Mammalogy 78: 1-14.
Fenton, M.B. and Morris, G.K. 1976. Opportunistic feeding by desert bats ( Myotis spp.). Canadian Journal of Zoology 54: 526-530.
French, J.R.J. 1983. The environmental challenge to forestry revisited. Pp. 22-26 in Facing Forestry's Future, edited by P.J. O'shaughnessy, C.J. Curry, D.W. Flinn and N.M. Oates. Conference proceedings, 10th Triennial Conference, Institute of Foresters of Australia.
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Hamilton-Smith, E. 1968. Bats. Pp. 40-45 in Wildlife in Southeastern Australia, edited by K. Dempster. Australian Broadcasting Commission, Sydney.
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Hill, J.E. and Smith, J.D. 1984 Bats. A Natural History. Rigby Publishers, Australia.
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Kunz, T.H. 1974. Feeding ecology of a temperate insectivorous bat ( Myotis velifer). Ecology 55: 693-711.
Kurta, A., Bell, G.P., Nagy, K.A. and Kunz, T.H. 1989. Energetics of pregnancy and lactation in free-ranging little brown-bats ( Myotis lucifugus). Physiological Zoology 62: 804-818.
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Law, B., and Anderson, J. 2000. Roost preferences and foraging ranges of the eastern forest bat Vespadelus pumilus under two disturbance histories in northern New South Wales, Australia. Austral Ecology 25: 352-67.
Lewis, S.E. 1995. Roost fidelity of bats: a review. Journal of Mammalogy 76: 481-96.
Lindenmayer, D.B. and Franklin, J.F. 1997. Re-inventing the discipline of forestry - a forest ecology perspective. Australian Forestry 60: 53-55.
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References

ABRG (Australian Biological Research Group). 1985. The impacts of timber production and harvesting on native flora and fauna. Appendix 5 in I.S. Ferguson, Report of the Board of Inquiry into the Timber Industry in Victoria. Vol. 2.
Adam, M.D., Lacki, M.J and Barnes, T.G. 1994. Foraging areas and habitat use of the Virginia Big-eared Bat in Kentucky. Journal of Wildlife Management 58: 462-69.
Adams, R.A. 1995. Onset of volancy and foraging patterns of juvenile Little Brown Bats, Myotis lucifugus. Journal of Mammalogy 72: 239-46.
Ahern, L.D. 1982. Threatened wildlife in Victoria and issues related to its conservation. Fisheries and Wildlife Paper, Victoria. Paper number 27. Fisheries and Wildlife Division, Ministry for Conservation, Victoria.
Anthony, I.L.P. and Kunz, T.H. 1977. Feeding strategies of the Little Brown Bat, Myotis lucifugus in Southern New Hampshire. Ecology 58: 775-786.
Bell, G.P. 1980. Habitat use and response to patches of prey by desert insectivorous bats. Canadian Journal of Zoology 58: 1876-1883.
Belwood, J.J. and Fenton, M.B. 1976. Variation in the diet of Myotis lucifugus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae). Canadian Journal of Zoology 54: 1674-1678.
Belwood, J.J. and Fullard, J.H. 1984. Echolocation and foraging behaviour in the Hawaiian Hoary Bat, Lasiurus cinereus semotis. Canadian Journal of Zoology 62: 2113-2130.
Black, H.L. 1974. A north temperate bat community: structure and prey populations. Journal of Mammalogy 55: 138-157.
Braithwaite, L.W. 1984. The identification of conservation areas for possums and gliders within the Eden Woodpulp Concession District. Pp. 501-08 in Possums and Gliders, edited by A.P. Smith and I.D. Hume. Australian Mammal Society, Surrey Beatty and Sons, NSW.
Burbidge, A.A., Johnson, K.A., Fuller, P.J. and Southgate, R.I. 1988. Aboriginal knowledge of the mammals of the central deserts of Australia. Australian Wildlife Research 15: 9-39.
Burbidge, A.A. and McKenzie, N.L. 1989. Patterns in the modern decline of Western Australia's vertebrate fauna: causes and conservation implications. Biological Conservation 50: 143-98.
Calder, T.G., Golding, B.G. and Manderson, A.D. 1983. Management for Arboreal Species in the Wombat State Forest. Environmental Report No. 16. Graduate School of Environmental Science, Monash University, Melbourne.
CLMC (Conservation of Land Mammals Committee). 1992. Guidelines for the protection of bat roosts. Journal of Mammalogy 73: 707-10.
Cork, S.J. and Catling, P.C. 1996. Modelling distributions of arboreal and ground-dwelling mammals in relation to climate, nutrients, plant chemical defences and vegetation structure in the eucalypt forests of south-eastern Australia. Forest Ecology and Management 85: 163-75.
Cowley, R.L. 1971. Birds and forest management. Australian Forestry 35: 234-250.
DCFL (1988) Forest Management Guidelines for Wildlife Conservation. Draft Departmental Guideline 02/20/0001/1, Native Forest Management Section, Lands and Forest Division, Department of Conservation, Forests and Lands, Melbourne.
Dixon, J.M. 1989. Gould's Wattled Bat. Pp. 340 in The Australian Museum Complete Book of Australian Mammals, edited by R. Strahan. Angus and Robertson, Sydney.
Dixon, J.M. and Huxley, L. 1989. Observations on a maternity colony of Gould's Wattled Bat Chalinolobus gouldii (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae). Mammalia 53: 395-414.
Duncan, A., Baker, G.B., and Montgomery, A. (eds). 1999 The Action Plan for Australian Bats. Environment Australia, Canberra.
Dunsmore, J.D., Hall, L.S. and Kottek, K.H. 1974. DDT in the Bent-winged Bat in Australia. Search 5: 110-11.
Dwyer, P.D. 1963. Save the cave-a pathway to fauna protection. Wildlife in Australia 2: 10-13.
Dwyer, P.D. 1965. Flight patterns of some eastern Australian bats. Victorian Naturalist 82: 36-41.
Dwyer, P.D. 1966. The population pattern of Miniopterus schreibersii (Chiroptera) in north-eastern New South Wales. Australian Journal of Zoology 14: 1073-1137.
Eby, P. and Lunney, D. (eds). 2002 Managing the Grey-headed Flying-fox as a threatened species in NSW. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman, NSW.
Fanning, F.D. 1995. Native fauna of the Tenterfield Management Area EIS Study. Tenterfield Management Area Environmental Impact Statement Supporting Document No. 4.
Feinsinger, P. 2001 Designing Field Studies for Biodiversity Conservation. Island Press, N.Y for the Nature Conservancy.
Fenton, M.B. 1982. Echolocation, insect hearing and feeding ecology of insectivorous bats. Pp. 261-285 in Ecology of Bats, edited by T.H. Kunz. Plenum Press, New York.
Fenton, M.B. 1997. Science and the conservation of bats. Journal of Mammalogy 78: 1-14.
Fenton, M.B. and Morris, G.K. 1976. Opportunistic feeding by desert bats ( Myotis spp.). Canadian Journal of Zoology 54: 526-530.
French, J.R.J. 1983. The environmental challenge to forestry revisited. Pp. 22-26 in Facing Forestry's Future, edited by P.J. O'shaughnessy, C.J. Curry, D.W. Flinn and N.M. Oates. Conference proceedings, 10th Triennial Conference, Institute of Foresters of Australia.
Hall, L.S. and Woodside, D.P. 1989. Verspertilionidae. Pp. 871-90 in Fauna of Australia. Mammalia Volume 1B, edited by D.W. Walton and B.J. Richardson. Australian Government Printing Service, Canberra.
Hamilton-Smith, E. 1968. Bats. Pp. 40-45 in Wildlife in Southeastern Australia, edited by K. Dempster. Australian Broadcasting Commission, Sydney.
Hamilton-Smith, E. 1974. Present knowledge of the Australian chiroptera. Australian Mammalogy 1: 95-101.
Hamilton-Smith, E. 1980. The Status of Australian Chiroptera. Pp. 199-205 in Proceedings of the Fifth International Bat Research Conference, edited by D. Wilson and A. L. Gardner. Texas Tech Press, Lubbock, Texas.
Hill, J.E. and Smith, J.D. 1984 Bats. A Natural History. Rigby Publishers, Australia.
Hoye, G. and Spence, J. 2004. The Large Bent-wing Bat Miniopterus schreibersii in Urban Environments: a survivor? Pp 138-47 in Urban Wildlife: More Than Meets the Eye, edited by D. Lunney and S. Burgin. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, NSW.
Hutson, A.M., Mickleburgh, S.P. and Racey, P.A. (comp.) 2001. Microchiropteran Bats: global status survey and conservation action plan. IUCN/SSC Chiroptera Specialist Group, IUCN, Gland Switzerland and Cambrige, UK. X + 258 pp.
Kirkpatrick, J., Meredith, C., Norton, T., Plumwood, V. and Fenshaw, R. 1990 The ecological future of Australia's forests. Australian Conservation Foundation, Melbourne.
Krefft, G. 1866. On the vertebrated animals of the Lower Murray and Darling, their habits, economy, and geographical distribution. Transactions of the Philosophical Society of New South Wales 1862-1866, 1-33.
Kunz, T.H. 1974. Feeding ecology of a temperate insectivorous bat ( Myotis velifer). Ecology 55: 693-711.
Kurta, A., Bell, G.P., Nagy, K.A. and Kunz, T.H. 1989. Energetics of pregnancy and lactation in free-ranging little brown-bats ( Myotis lucifugus). Physiological Zoology 62: 804-818.
Law, B.S. 1996. The ecology of bats in south-east Australian forests and potential impacts of forestry practices: a review. Pacific Conservation Biology 2: 363-74.
Law, B., and Anderson, J. 2000. Roost preferences and foraging ranges of the eastern forest bat Vespadelus pumilus under two disturbance histories in northern New South Wales, Australia. Austral Ecology 25: 352-67.
Lewis, S.E. 1995. Roost fidelity of bats: a review. Journal of Mammalogy 76: 481-96.
Lindenmayer, D.B. and Franklin, J.F. 1997. Re-inventing the discipline of forestry - a forest ecology perspective. Australian Forestry 60: 53-55.
Lumsden, L., Bennett, A., Silins, J. and Krasna, S. 1994 Fauna in a remnant vegetation-farmland mosaic: movements, roosts and foraging ecology of bats. A report to the Australian Nature Conservation Agency “Save the Bush” Program. Flora and Fauna Branch, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Victoria, Melbourne. 86pp.
Lumsden, L.F., Bennett, A.F., Krasna, S. P. and Silins, J.E. 1995. The conservation of insectivorous bats in rural landscapes of northern Victoria. Pp. 142-48 in People and nature conservation: perspectives on private land use and endangered species recovery, edited by A. Bennett, G. Backhouse and T. Clark. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Sydney.
Lumsden, L.F. and Bennett, A.F. 2000. Bats in rural landscapes: a significant but largely unknown faunal component. Pp. 42-50 in Balancing conservation and production in grassy landscapes. Proceedings of the Bushcare Grassy Landscapes Conference, Clare, South Australia, edited by T. Barlow and R. Thorburn. Environment Australia, Canberra.
Lunney, D. and Barker, J. 1986. Mammals of the coastal forests near Bega, New South Wales. I. Survey. Australian Zoologist 23: 19-28.
Lunney, D., Barker, J. and Priddel, D. 1985. Movements and day roosts of the Chocolate Wattled Bat Chalinolobus morio in a logged forest. Australian Mammalogy 8: 313-17.
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