Spatial analysis of the habitat and distribution of Osmoderma eremita (Scop.) in trees outside of woodlands
The endangered and specialised saproxylic beetle Osmoderma eremita occurs in veteran trees, a habitat particularly threatened by changes in agricultural landscapes. Its conservation requires information about populations and key features of host trees. Surveys of 8,014 trees (pollarded or in hedgerows) were carried out and analysed, based on habitat description (tree level) and spatial information (hedgerow length and distance to the nearest inhabited tree). A suitable cavity was present in 61% of the trees and O. eremita was detected in 42 trees, mainly in Salix (30 observations), the most common tree amongst those surveyed. A small or absent crown was a significant factor in explaining the beetle's presence, as was the distance to the nearest inhabited tree. The largest population of O. eremita, 19 inhabited trees, was found in a wide and continuous area formed by trees with suitable cavities, with distances of less than 250m from each another. Seven smaller areas, with 7, 5 or 1 inhabited trees, were also found. When analysing inhabited trees on a 1km(2) grid, 17km(2) hosted O. eremita, corresponding to a dense network of 63km of hedges. The presence of O. eremita significantly increased per km(2) with increasing length of hedges and this variable was thus used to guide forthcoming investigations directed toward Osmoderma. As the hedgerows existing in 1999 had decreased by 6.1% in 2009, it is concluded that the long term survival of O. eremita is under threat. The preservation of trees outside woodlands is urgent and has already started, in connection with Natura 2000 policies. Regeneration and creation of new hedgerows is also ongoing and can be reinforced both by using Salix and by promoting pruning to increase formation of cavities.
Author(s): Dodelin, B; Gaudet, S; Fantino, G
Journal: Nature Conservation-Bulgaria