BENHS SAPROXYLIC GROUP

Saproxylic invertebrates are those species which are dependent on dead or decaying wood or associated fungi and microorganisms for at least part of their lifecycle.

They include some of the most endangered species due to a reduction in available suitable habitat which leads to fragmentation and increasing isolation of populations. This may occur through intensive land-use such as agriculture and forestry, firewood collection and management practices that reduce deadwood for safety reasons or aesthetic tidiness. There has, however, been a recent increase in interest in this threatened group and there is now an urgent need for conservation effort.

A new special interest group was proposed by Keith Alexander at the BENHS AGM in March 2015. Following a good response, this group is now being set up. The first field meeting will be held on Sunday 20th September and Ivan Wright has kindly offered to host this event at Shotover Hill, located just to the east of Oxford. This historic site is an important habitat for a wide range of insects and around 150 saproxylic Coleoptera have so far been recorded. There is also an active ancient tree recording scheme run on the site. Further information about this field meeting will be available closer to the time.

The embryonic aims of the group are:

  • To bring saproxylic enthusiasts together;
  • To arrange field meetings, to share knowledge of techniques, etc, for finding particular species, and to help to keep site records up-to-date;
  • To develop and expand systems for site conservation assessment;
  • To raise awareness of saproxylic conservation issues.
If you would like to join this group, please email Ceri Watkins.

Useful links:
Shotover Wildlife: http://www.shotover-wildlife.org.uk/index.htm
The Ancient Tree Forum: http://www.ancienttreeforum.co.uk/