...and their importance in forest connectivity for saproxylic insects.
In the Mediterranean, and in much of the rest of Europe, forests are mostly young and very homogeneous. It is the result of a secular use oriented to the exploitation of timber, firewood and farming. Most of these forests lack the characteristic elements of forest maturity, or they are practically absent. This is one of the main reasons why 80% of the forest habitats of community interest are in an unfavorable state of conservation.
The action, lead by FUNGOBE, called "Characterization of the quality and connectivity of forest ecosystems in the north of Castilla y León" has characterized the maturity of 8 forest stands in a pilot area of the autonomous community of Castilla y León.
Interpopulation connectivity was also studied, considering several representative families of saproxylic insects as focal species. These groups have been selected because they have habitat requirements typical of forests with high traits of naturalness and maturity, and they are also protected by conventions and regulations at European level.
In order to carry out the study, pilot areas representative of the forest landscape of the SUDOE zone were selected. In this pilot area, the maturity of 8 mature stands was characterized through maturity indices and human footprint.
Structural connectivity was analyzed by mapping and applying indexes on the different types of vegetation and land use, and landscape structure was analyzed using indexes derived from landscape ecology. The connectivity of these stands was analyzed based on the functionality of the landscape for saproxylic insect species.
The main conclusions of this study point to the need for a holistic vision in the conservation and restoration of forests, considering the whole of the landscape structure, acting on the various existing habitats (patches of mixed forests, oak forests, oak groves, roofs, birch groves, riparian formations and grasslands).
The structural diversity and the types of formations present must be increased, which will result in the general quality of the habitat usable by other species and groups of fauna and flora, knowing that the different needs of each group will give rise to different flows and movement routes, reinforcing the intricate network of functional connections that constitute the physical basis of biodiversity, balance and ecosystemic stability.
The increase in the structural diversity and types of formations present must be made possible, which will result in the overall quality of the habitat usable by other species and groups of fauna and flora, knowing that the different needs of each group will give rise to different flows and pathways of movement, reinforcing the intricate network of functional connections that constitute the physical basis of biodiversity, ecosystem balance and stability.