Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 15–28 | Cite as

“Primeval forest relict beetles” of Central Europe: a set of 168 umbrella species for the protection of primeval forest remnants

  • Andreas EckeltEmail author
  • Jörg Müller
  • Ulrich Bense
  • Hervé Brustel
  • Heinz Bußler
  • Yannick Chittaro
  • Lukas Cizek
  • Adrienne Frei
  • Erwin Holzer
  • Marcin Kadej
  • Manfred Kahlen
  • Frank Köhler
  • Georg Möller
  • Hans Mühle
  • Andreas Sanchez
  • Ulrich Schaffrath
  • Jürgen Schmidl
  • Adrian Smolis
  • Alexander Szallies
  • Tamás Németh
  • Claus Wurst
  • Simon Thorn
  • Rune Haubo Bojesen Christensen
  • Sebastian Seibold


Identification of forest stands with priority for the conservation of biodiversity is of particular importance in landscapes with a long cultural and agricultural history, such as Central Europe. A group of species with a high indicator value for the naturalness of forest ecosystems are saproxylic insects. Some of these species, especially within the order Coleoptera, have been described as primeval forests relicts. Here, we compiled a list of 168 “primeval forest relict species” of saproxylic beetles based on expert knowledge. These species can serve as focal and umbrella species for forest conservation in Central Europe. They were selected because of their dependence on the continuous presence of primeval forest habitat features, such as over-mature trees, high amounts of dead wood, and dead wood diversity, as well as their absence in managed Central European forests. These primeval forest relict species showed a moderately strong clumping pattern within the phylogeny of beetles, as indicated by phylogenetic signal testing using the D-statistic. When we controlled for phylogenetic relatedness, an ordinal linear model revealed that large body size and preference for dead wood and trees of large diameter are the main characteristics of these species. This list of species can be used to identify forest stands of conservation value throughout Central Europe, to prioritize conservation and to raise public awareness for conservation issues related to primeval forests.


Saproxylic beetles Old growth Primeval forest relicts Habitat continuity Megatree continuity Forest conservation Flagship species Umbrella species 



We thank Erich Mayrhofer, Erich Weigand and their team at the Kalkalpen National Park (Austria) for assistance during the workshop and financial support; Ottó Merkl (Budapest, HNHM) for advice on species selection; and Jerzy M. Gutowski, Lech Buchholtz, Andrzej Melke, Karol Komosiński (Poland), O. Konvička (Zlín), D. Hauck (Brno), P. Průdek (Brno), and J. Vávra (Ostrava) for advice on the distribution and status of several primeval forest relict species.

Supplementary material

10841_2017_28_MOESM1_ESM.doc (320 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 320 KB)
10841_2017_28_MOESM2_ESM.doc (150 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 150 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Eckelt
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jörg Müller
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ulrich Bense
    • 4
  • Hervé Brustel
    • 5
  • Heinz Bußler
    • 6
  • Yannick Chittaro
    • 7
  • Lukas Cizek
    • 8
  • Adrienne Frei
    • 9
  • Erwin Holzer
    • 10
  • Marcin Kadej
    • 11
  • Manfred Kahlen
    • 1
  • Frank Köhler
    • 12
  • Georg Möller
    • 13
  • Hans Mühle
    • 14
  • Andreas Sanchez
    • 7
  • Ulrich Schaffrath
    • 15
  • Jürgen Schmidl
    • 16
  • Adrian Smolis
    • 11
  • Alexander Szallies
    • 17
  • Tamás Németh
    • 18
  • Claus Wurst
    • 19
  • Simon Thorn
    • 2
  • Rune Haubo Bojesen Christensen
    • 20
  • Sebastian Seibold
    • 21
  1. 1.Tiroler LandesmuseenNaturwissenschaftliche Sammlungen, Sammlungs- und ForschungszentrumHall in TirolAustria
  2. 2.Field Station Fabrikschleichach, Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical BiologyBiocenter University of WürzburgRauhenebrachGermany
  3. 3.Bavarian Forest National ParkGrafenauGermany
  4. 4.MössingenGermany
  5. 5.Ecole d’Ingénieurs de Purpan, INPTToulouse Cedex 03France
  6. 6.Bayerische Landesanstalt für Wald und Forstwirtschaft (LWF)FreisingGermany
  7. fauna - CSCFNeuchâtelSwitzerland
  8. 8.Institute of EntomologyBiology Centre of the Czech Academy of SciencesCeske BudejoviceCzech Republic
  9. 9.Büro für Waldökologische FragenZurichSwitzerland
  10. 10.AngerAustria
  11. 11.Department of Invertebrate Biology, Evolution and Conservation, Institute of Environmental Biology, Faculty of Biological ScienceUniversity of WrocławWrocławPoland
  12. 12.BornheimGermany
  13. 13.WadernGermany
  14. 14.MunichGermany
  15. 15.KasselGermany
  16. 16.AG Ökologie, Department Biologie/Institut für EntwicklungsbiologieUniversität Erlangen-NürnbergErlangenGermany
  17. 17.Zürcher Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften ZHAWWädenswilSwitzerland
  18. 18.Department of ZoologyHungarian Natural History MuseumBudapestHungary
  19. 19.Büro für Naturschutzfachliche GutachtenKarlsruheGermany
  20. 20.VærløseDenmark
  21. 21.Terrestrial Ecology Research Group, Department of Ecology and Ecosystem ManagementTechnische Universität MünchenFreisingGermany

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