Insect Conservation Developments in Central Europe

  • Karel Spitzer


Central Europe is situated at the biogeographical crossroads between temperate West and East, between North and South. The character of insect fauna is derived from a long ecological-historical succession which has taken place during Holocene period – at least since the end of the last Pleistocene Ice Age (about 12,000 years B.P.). The Holocene ecological succession started from forest-tundra biomes to various forest types dependent on elevation, diverse geomorphology and postglacial migrations of biota (Firbas 1949; De Lattin 1957; Jeník and Price 1994; Schmitt 2009). During the relatively warmer Holocene postglacial periods only the open mountain ridges, montane glacials cirques and open waterlogged peatbogs and fens preserved non-forest “relict” arctic/subarctic/boreal and alpine insect populations in habitats other than closed forests. Local and scattered dry grassland biomes on rocky limestone or volcanic substrates provided refugia for penetrating xerothermic south-eastern and Mediterranean insect species (De Lattin 1957; Malicky et al. 1983) Both types of azonal locally distributed habitats represent very important paleorefugia (sensu Nekola 1999) for nature conservation projects, with values extending well beyond those for entomology alone. The paleorefugial habitats (biotopes) of dominant forested landscape are preserved in virgin forest conditions also in limited numbers of local places of recent central Europe: natural montane mixed forests, lowland deciduous /oak/ woods and several types of wetland forests. Human-induced impacts on the original postglacial biomes resulted in far-reaching alterations and fragmentation of most types of original ecosystems. For the original primary distribution of natural biomes and reconstruction of vegetation, several mapping projects for some central European countries are available (for example, Neuhäuslová 2001, with plant ecological bibliography) and provide habitat characteristics and basic introductions for investigations of insect communities. Most data are valid across the boundaries of the states and political units, and help to emphasise that the political frontiers of central Europe are not important for local biogeography, insect conservation policy and division of this chapter. The main points that follow apply across the region.


Insect Community Central European Country Habitat Conservation Insect Fauna Insect Taxon 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I thank Josef Jaroš for helpful suggestions and field cooperation. Tim New kindly revised the manuscript and improved my English.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biology Centre CASInstitute of EntomologyCeske BudejoviceCzech Republic

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