TREES DO NOT MAKE A FOREST: LARGE-SCALE SPECIES DISTRIBUTION MODELING OF A SAPROXYLIC SPECIALIST CUCUJUS CINNABERINUS

Mr Michał Bełcik1, Mr Jakub Goczał2, Dr Michał Ciach3

1Institute Of Nature Conservation, Polish Academy Of Sciences, Poland, Kraków, Poland, 2Institute of Forest Ecosystem Protection, Faculty of Forestry, University of Agriculture in Krakow, Kraków, Poland, 3Department of Forest Biodiversity, Institute of Forest Ecology and Silviculture, Faculty of Forestry, University of Agriculture in Krakow, , Poland

Abstract:

During last centuries, forests located in western part of Europe were subjected to heavy transformations and ecological degradation, and at present encompasses mainly restored, secondary forests. However,  some forest fragments located in eastern regions of the continent did not lost their ecological continuity through the centuries. These spatial differences in forest-use history may have consequences for biodiversity, especially for the occurrence of habitat specialists. Our aim was to build the large-scale habitat suitability model and test the current potential of forest habitats to host the population of the flag saproxylic umbrella beetle – Cucujus cinnaberinus. Maximum entropy model revealed that the distribution pattern of the suitable habitats strongly correspond with the occurrence of large and well-preserved forest complexes, characterized by a long ecological continuity of the stands. Among analyzed environmental variables, the distance to the protected areas and mean tree diameter were found to be the most important habitat contributors. The optimum habitats may be found in part of Carpatians and north-eastern Poland, in particular Białowieża Primeval Forest, which encompass the best preserved forests in the entire Europe. Other suitable habitats were mostly the old-growth forests remnants, especially those long-term protected as national parks and nature reserves. Western Poland was unsuitable for Cucujus cinnaberinus, what pointed to limited value of secondary forests for habitat specialists. Our findings underscore the importance of forests with long ecological continuity and provokes questions about the effectiveness of reforestation as a tool for conservation of forest habitat specialists.


Biography:

I have a master degree in forestry (specialization forest information technology) from the joint master program at Warsaw University of Life Sciences and University of Sustainable Development in Eberswalde, Germany. Currently, I am a PhD student at the Institute of Nature Conservation, Polish Academy of Sciences. My doctoral research is a part of a larger grant entitled “Interactive effects of the social information and landscape structure on the behavior and distribution of animals”, awarded by the National Science Centre in Poland (project investigator dr Piotr Skorka (https://scholar.google.pl/citations?user=TS0YEUQAAAAJ&hl=pl). Recently, I have also been awarded my own grant from the National Science Centre, entitled “Landscape of sound – influence of social information on landscape connectivity and selected amphibians presence in habitat patches”. My research interests focus on landscape ecology of birds and amphibians, and understanding the relative effects of diverse social information types, the heterogeneity of the environment and the interaction between these two phenomena in shaping the distribution, density and biodiversity of organisms. My other research interests lie in predicting how the different forestry management and landscape planning affect species distributions, especially in regard to climate change.

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