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Conservation of saproxylic beetles in a wooded pasture in northern Scania

Schmidt, Andreas (2018) BIOM01 20171
Degree Projects in Biology
Abstract
The area of wooded pasture in Europe has decreased drastically over the last centuries due to abandoned management. Herrevadskloster is a newly formed nature reserve in northern Scania with an unusually long continuity of being an open, grazed woodland containing large old trees. In this study, the reserve was studied to evaluate its potential to further the conservation of the redlisted saproxylic beetles; hermit beetle (Osmoderma eremita) and stag beetle (Lucanus cervus). Exhaustive surveys were carried out for both species to determine if they are still present within the reserve. Tree hollows were also surveyed within the reserve and its connectivity with other potential habitats for the two species was analyzed. In addition, a... (More)
The area of wooded pasture in Europe has decreased drastically over the last centuries due to abandoned management. Herrevadskloster is a newly formed nature reserve in northern Scania with an unusually long continuity of being an open, grazed woodland containing large old trees. In this study, the reserve was studied to evaluate its potential to further the conservation of the redlisted saproxylic beetles; hermit beetle (Osmoderma eremita) and stag beetle (Lucanus cervus). Exhaustive surveys were carried out for both species to determine if they are still present within the reserve. Tree hollows were also surveyed within the reserve and its connectivity with other potential habitats for the two species was analyzed. In addition, a literature study was performed to analyze potential conservation efforts for the two species.
Neither hermit beetles, nor stag beetles, were found during the surveys indicating that they are no longer present. Eight hollows that could potentially be used by hermit beetles were found in the reserve. The connectivity analysis showed that even though there are several areas which could potentially be used by stag beetles in the area surrounding Herrevadskloster, these are not within dispersal distance of stag beetles. For hermit beetle, the potentially usable areas were fewer, smaller and out of reach of dispersing individuals. In spite of its isolation, the reserve could likely support a local population of stag beetles if a reintroduction were to be carried out. (Less)
Popular Abstract
Conservation of stag beetle and hermit beetle in northern Scania

The area of wooded pasture in Europe has decreased drastically over the last centuries due to abandoned management. The fairly young nature reserve Herrevadskloster, situated in northern Scania, has maintained wooded pastures with large, old broad leaf trees for centuries. Old broad leaf trees, such as pedunculate oaks (Quercus robur), are very important for the conservation of several species dependent on dead wood. Two such species are stag beetle (Lucanus cervus) and hermit beetle (Osmoderma eremita).

Stag beetles require subterranean dead wood, such as dead roots of broad leaf tree species as food during their larval stage. Hermit beetles live in the wood mold of... (More)
Conservation of stag beetle and hermit beetle in northern Scania

The area of wooded pasture in Europe has decreased drastically over the last centuries due to abandoned management. The fairly young nature reserve Herrevadskloster, situated in northern Scania, has maintained wooded pastures with large, old broad leaf trees for centuries. Old broad leaf trees, such as pedunculate oaks (Quercus robur), are very important for the conservation of several species dependent on dead wood. Two such species are stag beetle (Lucanus cervus) and hermit beetle (Osmoderma eremita).

Stag beetles require subterranean dead wood, such as dead roots of broad leaf tree species as food during their larval stage. Hermit beetles live in the wood mold of tree hollows, which form in very old trees. Wood mold is a flour-like substance which is a mixture of decaying wood from the inner walls of tree hollows and various other organic matter, such as leaves and droppings from larvae. Many hermit beetles spend their entire lives inside the same tree hollow and a large hollow can maintain a population of hermit beetles for decades. The trees that sustains these two species have become more and more sparse in the Scanian landscape and today the species only occur at a few localities in Scania.

In this thesis I have surveyed the reserve for stag beetle and hermit beetle, which have both been present in the reserve in the past. Stag beetles were surveyed by walking predetermined routes throughout the nature reserve on evenings when the species was likely to swarm. Hermit beetles were surveyed by sifting through the wood mold from tree hollows, but also by using traps baited with a pheromone which attracts females. I also evaluated the reserve as a habitat for the two species, investigated the possibility for a reintroduction, and made an analysis of the amount of suitable habitat for the two species in Scania.

According to the analysis, quite little available habitat remains for the two species in Scania. The remaining habitats are generally also situated far from each other. In many cases this makes it impossible for the beetles to reach neighboring populations. Sadly, both species seem to have disappeared from the reserve over the past century. Hermit beetles prefer tree hollows which are quite large but have a small opening as this creates a warm, humid environment for them. Unfortunately, such tree hollows are rare within the reserve today and therefor, the reserve seems incapable of sustaining a population of hermit beetles. The reserve does, however, appear to be suitable for stag beetles. As a result, it may be possible to reintroduce stag beetles to the reserve in the future.

Master’s Degree Project in Biology 30 credits 2017
Department of Biology, Lund University

Advisor: Ola Olsson
The section of biodiversity, department of Biology, Lund University (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Schmidt, Andreas
supervisor
organization
course
BIOM01 20171
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
language
English
id
8935719
date added to LUP
2018-02-13 11:12:02
date last changed
2018-02-13 11:12:02
@misc{8935719,
  abstract     = {The area of wooded pasture in Europe has decreased drastically over the last centuries due to abandoned management. Herrevadskloster is a newly formed nature reserve in northern Scania with an unusually long continuity of being an open, grazed woodland containing large old trees. In this study, the reserve was studied to evaluate its potential to further the conservation of the redlisted saproxylic beetles; hermit beetle (Osmoderma eremita) and stag beetle (Lucanus cervus). Exhaustive surveys were carried out for both species to determine if they are still present within the reserve. Tree hollows were also surveyed within the reserve and its connectivity with other potential habitats for the two species was analyzed. In addition, a literature study was performed to analyze potential conservation efforts for the two species.
Neither hermit beetles, nor stag beetles, were found during the surveys indicating that they are no longer present. Eight hollows that could potentially be used by hermit beetles were found in the reserve. The connectivity analysis showed that even though there are several areas which could potentially be used by stag beetles in the area surrounding Herrevadskloster, these are not within dispersal distance of stag beetles. For hermit beetle, the potentially usable areas were fewer, smaller and out of reach of dispersing individuals. In spite of its isolation, the reserve could likely support a local population of stag beetles if a reintroduction were to be carried out.},
  author       = {Schmidt, Andreas},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Conservation of saproxylic beetles in a wooded pasture in northern Scania},
  year         = {2018},
}