Australian bat research: The limitations of The Action Plan for Australian Bats in determining the direction of research

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Journal Article
Pacific Conservation Biology, 2003, 8 (4), pp. 255 - 260
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The Action Plan for Australian Bats is a Commonwealth initiative (Duncan et al. 1999a) which sets out the species considered to be in need of conservation and recommends Commonwealth funding to be applied. The argument of the present paper is that the Action Plan does not provide an adequate basis for bat research in Australia because it concentrates almost exclusively on a small number of threatened species and omits general bat research. This argument is supported by recent surveys of the opinions of bat researchers. The threatened species determinations of the various States also suffer from the same deficiency, i.e., threatened species have become the focus of attention at the expense of the conservation of all bat species. This increasing emphasis on threatened species, particularly those now on the national list, diminishes the possibility of carrying out basic bat research or research on species threatened at State level (at least in New South Wales) but not listed on a federal level under current national criteria. We contend that a better approach would be to focus on the threatening processes that affect all bat species (including non-threatened species) across the country in order to simultaneously determine strategies for protecting those that are threatened, as well as instituting measures that will prevent others from declining.
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