Cork oak landscapes are fascinating ecosystems, historically managed for cork extraction. The persistence in this habitat of many hollow veteran trees provides suitable micro-habitats for saproxylic beetles. We investigated the saproxylic beetle community of two isolated cork oak woodlands of central Italy with different degree of recovery after human transformation: (1) an open woodland and (2) a dense mixed woodland, both dominated by cork oak trees. We found endemic, rare and threatened saproxylic beetles in both the areas, confirming the important conservation value of cork oak landscapes. In the open woodland we observed a higher number of species in all trophic categories, except for mycophagous specialists. Several microhabitat variables reflected the different stage of recovery of the two woodlands. Our findings suggest the crucial role of diversified environments in protected areas: even a small difference in the degree of recovery (i.e., tree closeness) can affect the number of beetle species. Specifically, we found (1) more xerophilous species in the open woodland and (2) more mesophilous species in the dense mixed woodland.

Micro-habitat drivers of saproxylic beetle assemblages in old woodlands of Mediterranean cork oak (Quercus suber)

Della Rocca, F;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Cork oak landscapes are fascinating ecosystems, historically managed for cork extraction. The persistence in this habitat of many hollow veteran trees provides suitable micro-habitats for saproxylic beetles. We investigated the saproxylic beetle community of two isolated cork oak woodlands of central Italy with different degree of recovery after human transformation: (1) an open woodland and (2) a dense mixed woodland, both dominated by cork oak trees. We found endemic, rare and threatened saproxylic beetles in both the areas, confirming the important conservation value of cork oak landscapes. In the open woodland we observed a higher number of species in all trophic categories, except for mycophagous specialists. Several microhabitat variables reflected the different stage of recovery of the two woodlands. Our findings suggest the crucial role of diversified environments in protected areas: even a small difference in the degree of recovery (i.e., tree closeness) can affect the number of beetle species. Specifically, we found (1) more xerophilous species in the open woodland and (2) more mesophilous species in the dense mixed woodland.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1463559
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