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Association of extinction risk of saproxylic beetles with ecological degradation of forests in Europe


Seibold, Sebastian; Brandl, Roland; Buse, Jörn; Hothorn, Torsten; Schmidl, Jürgen; Thorn, Simon; Müller, Jörg (2015). Association of extinction risk of saproxylic beetles with ecological degradation of forests in Europe. Conservation Biology, 29(2):382-390.

Abstract

To reduce future loss of biodiversity and to allocate conservation funds effectively, the major drivers behind large-scale extinction processes must be identified. A promising approach is to link the red-list status of species and specific traits that connect species of functionally important taxa or guilds to resources they rely on. Such traits can be used to detect the influence of anthropogenic ecosystem changes and conservation efforts on species, which allows for practical recommendations for conservation. We modeled the German Red List categories as an ordinal index of extinction risk of 1025 saproxylic beetles with a proportional-odds linear mixed-effects model for ordered categorical responses. In this model, we estimated fixed effects for intrinsic traits characterizing species biology, required resources, and distribution with phylogenetically correlated random intercepts. The model also allowed predictions of extinction risk for species with no red-list category. Our model revealed a higher extinction risk for lowland and large species as well as for species that rely on wood of large diameter, broad-leaved trees, or open canopy. These results mirror well the ecological degradation of European forests over the last centuries caused by modern forestry, that is the conversion of natural broad-leaved forests to dense conifer-dominated forests and the loss of old growth and dead wood. Therefore, conservation activities aimed at saproxylic beetles in all types of forests in Central and Western Europe should focus on lowlands, and habitat management of forest stands should aim at increasing the amount of dead wood of large diameter, dead wood of broad-leaved trees, and dead wood in sunny areas.

Abstract

To reduce future loss of biodiversity and to allocate conservation funds effectively, the major drivers behind large-scale extinction processes must be identified. A promising approach is to link the red-list status of species and specific traits that connect species of functionally important taxa or guilds to resources they rely on. Such traits can be used to detect the influence of anthropogenic ecosystem changes and conservation efforts on species, which allows for practical recommendations for conservation. We modeled the German Red List categories as an ordinal index of extinction risk of 1025 saproxylic beetles with a proportional-odds linear mixed-effects model for ordered categorical responses. In this model, we estimated fixed effects for intrinsic traits characterizing species biology, required resources, and distribution with phylogenetically correlated random intercepts. The model also allowed predictions of extinction risk for species with no red-list category. Our model revealed a higher extinction risk for lowland and large species as well as for species that rely on wood of large diameter, broad-leaved trees, or open canopy. These results mirror well the ecological degradation of European forests over the last centuries caused by modern forestry, that is the conversion of natural broad-leaved forests to dense conifer-dominated forests and the loss of old growth and dead wood. Therefore, conservation activities aimed at saproxylic beetles in all types of forests in Central and Western Europe should focus on lowlands, and habitat management of forest stands should aim at increasing the amount of dead wood of large diameter, dead wood of broad-leaved trees, and dead wood in sunny areas.

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37 citations in Web of Science®
40 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:13 Jan 2015 16:35
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 09:45
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0888-8892
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.12427
PubMed ID:25429849

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