Restoration of beech forest for saproxylic beetles—effects of habitat fragmentation and substrate density on species diversity and distribution

  • Jörg BrunetEmail author
  • Gunnar Isacsson
Original Paper


The influence of spatial location and density of beech snags on species diversity and distribution patterns of saproxylic beetles was studied in a 2,400 ha forest landscape in southern Sweden. Complete snag surveys were combined with a beetle survey using small window traps directly attached to the beech snags. The density of beech snags ≥30 cm dbh varied between one and seven snags per ha within the study area, corresponding to 1.1–5.1 m3/ha. A total of 2,610 specimens of 180 saproxylic beetles species were trapped, of which 19 species were red-listed. Within the study area, the number of red-listed and formerly red-listed species was highest around traps in old-growth stands, intermediate in managed stands contiguous with old-growth and lowest in managed stands isolated from old-growth by a two km-wide zone without beech forest. Logistic regressions revealed negative relationships between distance to old-growth forest and occurrence of eleven species, among them six red-listed or formerly red-listed species. The number of non red-listed species was not correlated with isolation from old-growth forest. The number of red-listed species also increased with snag density within 200–300 m around the traps. Our results suggest that red-listed species generally have a lower dispersal capacity than other saproxylic beetles. We conclude that retention of dead wood close to existing populations is more beneficial for red-listed species than an even distribution of snags across the forest landscape.


Beech snags Coarse woody debris Dispersal limitation Red-listed species Southern Sweden Window traps 



We are very grateful to Emma Holmström and Prisca Schäffer for help with field work and GIS-analyses, and to Rickard Andersson for determination of the saproxylic beetles. We would also like to thank Oddvar Fiskesjö, Carina Zätterström, Anders Ekstrand and Bo Edlund for providing information and access to the study area, and Eric Agestam and Jogeir Stokland for providing data files. Valuable comments from two reviewers helped to improve the paper. Many thanks to Vikki Bengtsson for language revision. The project was financed by the research program Sustainable Management of Broadleaved Forest at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). Species determination was financed by the Regional Council of Skåne.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Southern Swedish Forest Research CentreSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesAlnarpSweden
  2. 2.Swedish Forest AgencyHässleholmSweden

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