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Strengthening the case for saproxylic arthropod conservation: a call for ecosystem services research


Correspondence: Michael D. Ulyshen, USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, 201 Lincoln Green, Starkville, MS 39759, USA. E-mail:


  1. While research on the ecosystem services provided by biodiversity is becoming widely embraced as an important tool in conservation, the services provided by saproxylic arthropods – an especially diverse and threatened assemblage dependent on dead or dying wood – remain unmeasured.
  2. A conceptual model depicting the reciprocal relationships between dead wood and saproxylic arthropod biodiversity, wildfires, climate change, forest productivity and pest outbreaks is presented. This model suggests that the ecological influence of saproxylic arthropods may extend far beyond their effects on wood decay.
  3. Several predictions arising from this view are briefly summarised with the hope of stimulating research that may ultimately help strengthen the argument for saproxylic arthropod conservation.