Saproxylic beetle assemblages in artificially created high-stumps of spruce (Picea abies) and birch (Betula pendula/pubescens) – does the surrounding landscape matter?


Matts Lindbladh, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, SLU – Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 49, SE 230 53, Alnarp, Sweden. E-mail:


Abstract.  1. To create high-stumps (snags) is a common conservation action during final felling in Swedish production forests. However, many wood-living beetle species are only found in certain areas with higher overall biodiversity, so called hotspots. It has been argued that it is efficient to concentrate conservation efforts to hotspots.

2. The saproxylic beetle fauna was sampled on ten clearcuts inside hotspots and ten clearcuts outside the hotspots. They were collected with window traps mounted on 2- and 4-year-old spruce and birch high-stumps. We also used environmental data (e.g. tree species composition) to confirm differences between the surroundings of two, the clearcut types.

3. High-stumps on the hotspot clearcuts did not attract more saproxylic beetle species, or red-listed species, than high-stumps outside the hotspots. The environmental data showed that the clearcuts differed in several important aspects, for instance, were there a higher proportion of broadleaved trees around the hotspot compared with the clearcuts outside the hotspots. In a Canonical Correspondence Analysis, the proportion of coniferous and broadleaved forest was an important explanatory variables. The hotspot variable did contribute significantly in explaining the beetle composition on the birch high-stumps, but not on the spruce high-stumps.

4. In general, the study suggests that concentrating high-stumps to hotspot areas will not benefit more species. However, the result indicates birch high-stumps could be prioritised in a biologically rich landscape. The hotspot effect may be more noticeable in the future as the high-stumps decay and their importance for late successional species increase.