Does dead wood volume affect saproxylic beetles in montane beech-fir forests of Central Europe?

  • Jiří ProcházkaEmail author
  • Jiří Schlaghamerský


As most European forests are commercially managed for wood production, excluding the disintegration phase of the forest development cycle, a serious decline of numerous species has been observed. The intensity of forest management is critical for biodiversity conservation, especially in regard to saproxylic organisms, as it reduces the abundance of old trees and dead wood. We studied saproxylic beetles in 12 montane beech-fir stands in a Central European mountain range. We used 72 flight interception traps exposed for two vegetation seasons (2012 and 2013) placed at sites characterized by three levels of dead wood volume. In total, 7990 individuals of 287 species belonging to 41 families were collected. Species richness and abundance of both non-threatened and threatened species showed no significant differences among the three studied forest stand categories. Nevertheless, the presence of both non-threatened and threatened species in the studied forest stands was affected by several environmental variables. Large diameter dead wood, dead wood in the last decay stage and dead beech wood close to the traps significantly affected the assemblage of threatened beetles. Canopy openness, thin dead wood in the wider trap surroundings and dead wood in the second and third decay stage in the closer trap surroundings affected the assemblage of non-threatened species.


Saproxylic beetles Red list Flight interception traps Decaying wood Stand structure 



We thank Jana Procházková, Zuzana Pusztaiová, Martin Pusztai, Zuzana Budková, and Jan Budka for assistance with field work and Radek Michalko for advice in statistical analyses. We thank Miloš Knížek, Pavel Průdek, Tomáš Sitek, Filip Trnka, Robert Stejskal, and Jiří Vávra for help with beetle identification. The Administration of the Beskydy Protected Landscape Area and the Forests of the Czech Republic, state enterprise, permitted us to collect beetles and measure environmental variables in the forests and nature reserves under their direction. The study received funding from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic (Research Plan MSM 0021622416) and from the South Moravian Centre for International Mobility (Brno Ph.D. Talent).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The study was conducted in accordance with the legislation of the Czech Republic.

Research involving human and animal participants

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Science, Department of Botany and ZoologyMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic

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