AN Alicante University study says that global warming has caused an ‘alarming’ loss of insect species in Mediterranean forests.
The report from the university’s Ibero-American Biodiversity Centre examined the long-term variation in the patterns of diversity and interaction between wood beetles(saproxylic beetles) that live inside the trees of the Cabañeros National Park in Ciudad Real and Toledo.
The conclusion is that the beetle communities are ‘much more vulnerable’ than eleven years ago especially in forests adjoining river banks.
Report author and zoology professor, Estefania Mico, said that this situation ‘could worsen in the future if the suitability of habitats and microhabitats decreases’.
“Our results conclude that this insect species is undergoing a drastic decline over time,“ added Mico.
“Changes could be down to increased pollution, changes of anthropogenic origin, or climate change.”
Estefania Mico observed that the average temperature in the National Park rose by 1.5 degrees Celsius between 2007 and 2021.
Three types of tree in the forests have been monitored and have produced similar findings of a population fall.
Saproxylic beetles play an important part in the natural ecosystem and they play a key role in the degradation of dead wood with the by-product of reincorporating nutrients into the soil in addition to beetles being pollinators.
“Saproxylic beetles stop other predatory species that live in dead wood becoming potential pests in forests, including species that can transmit diseases,” said Mico.
“This research is very useful for predicting future changes which allows the improvement of conservation plans for forest biodiversity,” the professor concluded.
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