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The saproxylic activity index: a new tool for the rapid assessment of deadwood species during forest restoration

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Open Journal of Forestry
Issue number2
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)144-150
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Restoring deadwood habitat is vital in order to recreate fully functioning forest ecosystems. Letting this process occur naturally can take in excess of one hundred years, thus management practises typically try to accelerate this via the artificial addition of deadwood. Since the species which rely on deadwood often have poor dispersal abilities, restoring deadwood habitat rarely results in the full restoration of the saproxylic fauna. Furthermore, standard deadwood monitoring protocol only records the amount and type of substrate available and is not capable of determining whether saproxylic insects have been restored. Full species inventories are time-consuming, costly and require great expertise. We present a rapid biodiversity assessment tool which we believe is the first protocol for measuring saproxylic activity which is accessible to non-specialists. Utilising the exit bore holes which saproxylics create on deadwood can provide an indication of the density, richness and diversity of species present; we call this the Saproxylic Activity Index. We show that this index can detect differences in the activity of insects between substrates. As saproxylic insects provide important ecosystem functions, such as aiding in the decay of deadwood and recycling nutrients, a measure of their activity levels may indicate the rate of restoration of these ecosystem processes. We believe that further exploration of this method provides an exciting opportunity for the functional restoration of saproxylic fauna to become incorporated into mainstream forest management