· Naturefund project detail

Primeval Forest Relics

Ein unscheinbarer, doch sehr seltener Kurzhornschröter Foto: Naturstiftung David

Around 1.400 types of deadwood beetle are known in Germany. Most of them are becoming more and more rare and are endangered species. In our cultivated forests there is a lack of standing and fallen heavy deadwood.

Primeval forest relics require virgin forest structures

Within this group of beetles, these types of primeval forest relics have a special position. Not only do they require deadwood, but also virgin forest structures. In the old deciduous forests of the Hohe Schrecke in North East Thuringia, nine types of beetle, once thought to be extinct have recently been discovered again. Due to their low mobility, they also only exist in forests that have never been cleared. The facts of their existence is proof that the forest is relatively untouched.

Wanted: Mulm of Black Woodpeckers or Tawny Owls

The requirements of the Trox perrisii beetle are very special: the larvae grow in mulm (deadwood in a certain stage of decay), in the nesting holes made by Black Woodpeckers; but only when they are occupied by Stock Doves or Tawny Owls. As mulm which is enriched with feathers and bones is the favourite food of the beetle. These types of primeval forest relics, of which there are only around 115 types remaining in Middle Europe, have such specialised requirements from their habitats, that their survival is questionable.

Forest area of paramount importance in Germany

However, they have adapted to primeval forests, which have already existed for a much longer period than forests which have been transformed by the needs and intervention of humankind. Their survival is only possible in wild forests, which means deciduous forests which have largely been left to themselves. If people are willing and courageous enough to allow large areas of virgin forest to develop again, these species can be preserved. The deciduous forests of the Hohe Schrecke are an impressive and important example that this is possible. It is a forest area of paramount importance in Germany, solely by the discovery of the nine types of primeval forest relics. Join us and help us to buy more land for nature!

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