News Release

Bat Conservation International and USDA Forest Service Strengthen Partnership to Protect Bats and their Habitat

May 21, 2004 -

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and Bat Conservation International (BCI), a non-profit conservation group, recently signed an agreement promoting the conservation of bats and their habitat. Most of the 46 bat species in North America can be found in national forests.

A memorandum of understanding, signed at the Forest Service’s headquarters here, continues the partnership between the two organizations. The Forest Service and BCI have a successful history of working on a range of cooperative projects in areas such as research on forest-bat species and their habitat, inventory and conservation efforts for rare and endangered bat species, educational symposia and workshops on bat conservation and habitat management, and integrating multi-resource management to conserve these important mammals.

“The Forest Service’s partnership with BCI has been a very rewarding and positive experience,” said Tom Thompson, deputy chief of the Forest Service’s National Forest System. “BCI’s expertise in bat conservation and the training it has provided to Forest Service employees has been invaluable in managing bats and their habitat in national forests.”

“Bats are found in every national forest in the United States and they are primary predators of insect pests that cost farmers and foresters billions of dollars annually,” said Merlin Tuttle, BCI’s founder. “Protecting them is essential to forest health and collaboration with the Forest Service is essential to progress.”

BCI works with the Forest Service locally, regionally, and nationally, to provide expertise, grants, and guidance for consideration of bat conservation in conjunction with resource management. The two organizations currently work together on: roost site management for tree- and cave-reliant bat species; a publication on bat conservation and forest management; and workshops on acoustic inventory and monitoring methods. The Forest Service and BCI share resources and contribute funding toward critical research on bat habitat, which is used in forest planning and prevention from threatened or endangered species listing.

The Forest Service is a federal agency that manages 191 million acres of national forests and grasslands. The Forest Service is the largest forestry research organization in the world and provides technical and financial assistance to state and private forestry agencies. Its mission is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. For more information, visit

BCI was founded in 1982 and remains the primary champion for bats at a global scale through public education including classroom curriculum, collaborative research, development of grants, and through partnerships with state and federal agencies to instill bat conservation as a fundamental aspect of managing public lands. BCI facilitates positive solutions to natural resource management that benefit people and bats alike. For more information, visit

Supporting information:

Memorandum of Understanding (PDF, 44KB)

Fact Sheet on Partnership Opportunities (PDF, 133KB)