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Sebek P.,IRSTEA | Sebek P.,Masaryk University | Barnouin T.,Reseau Naturaliste Entomologie | Brin A.,Purpan Engineering School | And 10 more authors.
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2012

In European forests, large scale biodiversity monitoring networks need to be implemented - networks which include components such as taxonomical groups that are at risk and that depend directly on forest stand structure. In this context, monitoring the species-rich group of saproxylic beetles is challenging. In the absence of sufficient resources to comprehensively survey a particular group, surrogates of species richness can be meaningful tools in biodiversity evaluations. In search of restricted subsets of species to use as surrogates of saproxylic beetle richness, we led a case study in Western Europe. Beetle data were compiled from 67 biodiversity surveys and ecological studies carried out from 1999 to 2010 with standardised trapping methods in France and Belgium. This large-scale dataset contains 642 forest plots, 1521 traps and 856 species. Twenty-two simplified species subsets were identified as potential surrogates, as well as the number of genera, a higher taxonomic level, taking into account, for each surrogate, the effort required for species identification, the practical monitoring experience necessary, the species conservation potential or the frequency of species occurrence. The performance of each surrogate was analyzed based on the following parameters: overall surrogacy (correlation between subset richness and total species richness), surrogacy vs. identification cost balance, surrogacy variation over a wide range of ecological conditions (forest type, altitude, latitude and bio-geographical area) and consistency with spatial scale. Ecological representativeness and ability to monitor rare species were supplementary criteria used to assess surrogate performance. The subsets consisting of the identifiable (or only easy-to-identify species) could easily be applied in practice and appear to be the best performing subsets, from a global point of view. The number of genera showed good prediction at the trap level and its surrogacy did not vary across wide environmental gradients. However, the subset of easy-to-identify species and the genus number were highly sensitive to spatial scale, which limits their use in large-scale studies. The number of rare species or the species richness of single beetle families (even the best single-family subset, the Cerambycidae) was very weak surrogates for total species richness. Conversely, the German list of monitoring species had high surrogacy, low identification costs and was not strongly influenced by the main geographical parameters, even with our French and Belgian data. In European-wide monitoring networks, such internationally validated subsets could be very useful with regard to the timing and cost-efficiency of field inventories. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

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