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Influence of tree hollow characteristics and forest structure on saproxylic beetle diversity in tree hollows in managed forests in a regional comparison

Citation

Henneberg, Benjamin et al. (2022), Influence of tree hollow characteristics and forest structure on saproxylic beetle diversity in tree hollows in managed forests in a regional comparison, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.66t1g1k1q

Abstract

Tree hollows are among the rarest habitats in today’s Central European managed forests but are considered key structures for high biodiversity in forests. To analyze and compare the effects of tree hollow characteristics and forest structure on diversity of saproxylic beetles in tree hollows in differently structured managed forests, we examined between 41 and 50 tree hollows in beech trees in each of three state forest management districts in Germany.

During the two-year study, we collected 283 saproxylic beetle species (5880 individuals; 22% threatened species), using emergence traps. At small spatial scales, size of hollow entrance and number of surrounding microhabitat structures positively influenced beetle diversity, while stage of wood mould decomposition had a negative influence, across all three forest districts. We utilized forest inventory data to analyze the effects of forest structure in radii of 50 to 500 m around tree hollows on saproxylic beetle diversity in the hollows. At these larger spatial scales, the three forest management districts differed remarkably regarding the parameters that influenced saproxylic beetle diversity in tree hollows. In Ebrach, characterized by mostly deciduous trees, the amount of dead wood positively influenced beetle diversity. In the mostly coniferous Fichtelberg forest district, with highly isolated tree hollows, in contrast, only the proportion of beech trees around the focal tree hollows showed a positive influence on beetle diversity. In Kelheim, characterized by mixed forest stands, there were no significant relationships between forest structure and beetle diversity in tree hollows.

In this study, the same local tree hollow parameters influenced saproxylic beetle diversity in all three study regions, while parameters of forest structure at larger spatial scales differed in their importance, depending on tree-species composition.

Funding

Landesanstalt für Wald und Forstwirtschaft, Award: L058

Oberfrankenstiftung