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

Andreas Eckelt · 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, Journal of Insect Conservation, 2017

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

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