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Hanging on by the tips of the tarsi: A review of the plight of the critically endangered saproxylic beetle in European forests

Horák, Jakub, Chobot, Karel, Horáková, Jana
Journal for nature conservation 2012 v.20 no.2 pp. 101-108
Coleoptera, European Union, biodiversity, biologists, extinction, forest management, forests, managers
Since the beginning of the new millennium, many conservation biologists and forest managers have been discussing the future of European forests. Historical evidence shows that the diversity of saproxylic beetles, a key measure of forest biodiversity, has declined at a frightening pace. Most of the data regarding species-rich forests were collected during a period when most European forests were managed using traditional management practices. We present extinction and genesis of relictual distribution of Cucujus haematodes, one of the three most endangered saproxylic beetles in the EU. We also analyse and compare threats to its presence and extinction according to forest history, management and current conditions in European forests. Our review showed that one of the main aims of conservation efforts relating to saproxylic beetles should focus on the refinement of the profound effects of commercial forestry and on respect for forest history and traditional forest management. Traditional management practices and their principles present one solution to the problem of decreasing forest biodiversity. We believe that our review can help stop the decrease of forest biodiversity in an era when people and large institutions are increasingly concerned about nature and the environment.