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Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


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Bats, People, and Buildings: Issues & Opportunities

Maternity colony of female big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) roosting in a manmade bat house. Rutgers University
Maternity colony of female big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) roosting in a manmade bat house. Rutgers University
Snapshot: Proponents for wood as construction material cite timber as a sustainable resource, with almost limitless supply, low carbon footprint, and opportunities for reclamation. However, sustainable building design can and should consider broader issues, such as losses to biodiversity. This article presents opportunities to incorporate bat-friendly design into construction projects.

Bats are amazing animals. They are among the best flyers of the natural world and are able to maneuver in the dark to intersect small flying insects. Bats consume large quantities of insects, and this helps hold down the populations of pests that could otherwise destroy agricultural crops and forests. Bats also pollinate many species of plants that provide us with food and medicine.

Most people in the United States view bats as pests, and this view has undoubtedly contributed to precipitous declines for some species. However, in much of Europe, bats are protected and measures are taken to incorporate bat housing into buildings and bat-friendly habitat into neighborhoods. Many bat species in the United States also take advantage of human structures. With good design, bat housing could be incorporated into buildings and other structures and could provide support for U.S. bat populations. This publication provides an overview of resources available to help people who want to support bats with their existing structures and/or new building projects.
Princpal Investigator(s):
 Pfeiffer, Marty

Research Location:
  • Forest Products Laboratory

Fiscal Year: 2019
Highlight ID: 1327
Related Research Emphasis Areas: