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Forest fuel piles as ecological traps for saproxylic beetles in oak

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Biodiversity management in broadleaved forests includes partial cutting to improve conditions for species that benefit from semi-open stand structure. The harvested wood is usually used as fuel and, therefore, it is stockpiled in situ for months before further processing. If such forest fuel piles attract saproxylic insects, they are likely to be ecological traps, because the settling cost for insects is death as the wood is chipped and used for energy. This study investigated beetle species composition in piles of oak wood in southern Sweden. Species density and frequency of occurrence were compared in wood with different diameters and at the top, middle and bottom parts of piles. A total of 39 species (six red-listed) and 3528 individual beetles emerged. The highest density of both individuals and species was in the top layer. No species was significantly more frequent in the middle or bottom layers. Diameter had only a limited effect on species density and individual species reproduced in both coarse and fine wood. In conclusion, forest fuel piles can be ecological traps for several uncommon and red-listed saproxylic beetles. The negative effects can be mitigated by removing the piles before the insects colonize them. If this is not possible, then the top layer should be retained.

Keywords: Bioenergy; forest fuel; logging residues; oak; restoration; saproxylic; slash

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: County Administration of Kronoberg, Vaxjo, Sweden 2: Swedish Forest Agency, Hassleholm, Sweden 3: Department of Ecology, SLU, Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: August 1, 2008

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