Saproxylic beetles are indicator of well preserved and natural forest. These insects depend on dead and decaying wood for at least part of their lifecycle and play important ecological roles in forest habitats. The have an important role in decomposition processes and thus for recycling nutrients in natural ecosystems. Their species richness depends on quantity and quality of available dead and decaying wood in the habitat.
Beetles belonging to this ecological group represent one of the most threatened insect groups in Europe assessed so far, with close to 18% threatened species. Many of saproxylic beetles are regarded as data defficient (app. 25 % of all assessed species), particularly in the Balkans.
The loss of habitat represents the main reason of decline in saproxylic beetle populations in Europe. Other major threats include urbanisation, touristic development and an increase in the frequency and intensity of wildfires in the Mediterranean region. Saproxylic beetles are highly sensitive to forest management practices as it reduces the abundance and variety of dead wood.
The study area is located in the central part of the Dinaric Alps, on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Dinaric Alps mountain chain is located in the western Balkans, forming the largest continuous karst landscape in Europe and encompassing some of the most significant forest and mountain habitats of Europe. This is region of high biodiversity value and one of the biodiversity hotspots of the Balkans. It is region with large complexes of well preserved forests, but also the area with significant increase in logging and insufficient nature protection in general.
Forests of Bosnia and Herzegovina are largely well preserved but highly affected by habitat destruction due to increasing number of fires, as well as growing exploitation. At the same time, beetle fauna of forests in the country is only scarcely known.
The project goal is to assess the status and distribution of Ampedus quadrisignatus and several other globaly threatened and data deficient saproxylic click beetles in central part of Dinaric Alps (Bosnia and Herzegovina). The project aims to:
- Access the status and distribution of target species;
- Work on the development of a monitoring of their populations and the protection of identified habitats of these species;
- Increase public awareness on the importance of saproxylic beetles and their habitats.
Ampedus quadrisignatus is listed as Endangered (EN) as it is very rare throughout its range that is severely fragmented. The populations of this species are declining as well as its habitat which is threatened by forest exploitation, removal of veteran trees and dead wood. As A. quadrisignatus is a predator species it can be also affected by the decline of its prey.
This species is distributed from France through central Europe to the forest-steppes in Ukraine.
This is an obligate saproxylic species whose larvae develop in red-rotten heartwood of broad-leaved tree species. Its preferred habitats are beech-oak woods of lowlands and foothills.
Forest exploitation is one of the main threats, including the removal of dead wood. It is dependent on certain prey species that are also locally declining.
The project is being implemented by the Society for Biological Research and Protection of Nature – BIO.LOG
Project 172517353 location - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Europe