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Desender K.,Royal Belgian Institute Of Natural Sciences | Dekoninck W.,Royal Belgian Institute Of Natural Sciences | Dufrene M.,Direction de la Nature et de lEau | Maes D.,Research Institute for Nature and Forest INBO
Biological Conservation

Twenty years ago, Desender and Turin (1989) analysed the changes in the composition of carabid beetles in four NW European countries between the periods <1950 and 1950-1985. Recently, a new distribution atlas of carabid beetles in Belgium was compiled using data collected during the period 1986-2008. In the light of the Countdown2010 target of halting the loss of biodiversity, we used these new data to test whether or not previously observed trends were altered. Since 1950, 46 species were no longer recorded in Belgium and seven species were added to the Belgian fauna. By relating the changes in distribution area to ecological and life history traits as well as to conservation priorities of the species, we examined which species characteristics were associated with the strongest changes in distribution. Comparing the period before 1950 with the period 1950-1985 showed that species from nutrient-poor dry biotopes and heathlands, threatened, rare and big species declined. Generalists, non-threatened species, species with a pan-European distribution range, species in the centre of their distribution range and common species, on the other hand, increased. From the period 1950-1985 to 1986-2008, mainly macropterous species, both rare and very common species and big species decreased, while generalists, dimorphic species, species with a pan-European distribution range and species that were already common in the second period increased. For the conservation of carabid beetles in a strongly industrialised and highly fragmented NW European landscape, we propose actions on two levels: first, the protection and adequate management of high quality biotopes, especially nutrient-poor grasslands and heathlands, in large core areas for specialist species and second, the creation and/or restoration of a 'matrix' that facilitates the exchange of individuals between core areas for the conservation of both generalist and specialist species. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Cammaerts R.,Direction de la Nature et de lEau | Cammaerts R.,Roosevelt University | Spikmans F.,Stichting RAVON | van Kessel N.,Natuurbalans Limes Divergens BV | And 5 more authors.
Aquatic Invasions

The western tubenose goby, Proterorhinus semilunaris, of Ponto-Caspian origin, already recorded in 2002 from the lowest course of the Dutch River Meuse, was caught upstream for the first time in 2008 in the Border Meuse, the river-stretch forming the border between Belgium and the Netherlands. In 2009 it reached the upstream extremity of the Border Meuse in Wallonia and in 2010 it was recorded in Flanders, in a canal connected to the Border Meuse. Discussion is provided about its migration pathway. Further upstream expansion of the western tubenose goby may be expected in less man-modified and lightly navigated sections of the River Meuse, e.g. those lined with macrophyte-rich habitats. Behavioural competition with the native bullhead Cottus perifretum is likely and might lead to a decline in the bullhead population. © 2012 The Author(s). Source

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