What can forest managers learn from research on fossil insects? Linking forest ecological history, biodiversity and managementThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
This paper outlines the usefulness of using fossil insects, particularly Coleoptera (beetles), preserved in waterlogged palaeoenvironmental and archaeological deposits in understanding the changing nature of forest ecosystems and their associated insect population dynamics over the last 10,000 years. Research in Europe has highlighted the complex nature of early forest ecosystems, in particular the role of dead wood and grazing animals. This research suggests that the north European primary forest has similarities to pasture woodlands, rather than the forest manager’s perception of closed canopy systems. Human activity has had a major impact on forest ecosystems, resulting in an expansion of plants and animals associated with cleared landscapes and pasture and also the local extirpation of a sizeable proportion of taxa from the forests of northern Europe. The decline in these species has been seen as resulting from habitat loss due to human impact on the forest, which intensified from about 2500 years ago onwards, coupled with subtle climate change effects. These extirpations will be discussed, with particular reference to the management of forest ecosystems for the benefit of their invertebrates (particularly those associated with dead wood), and emphasising how the record from archaeological and palaeoecological sites has significant relevance to modern woodland management and conservation. Moreover, the role of disturbances in maintaining the structure and biodiversity of the "wildwood" will be emphasied.
Requesting Print Publications
Publication requests are subject to availability. Fiscal responsibility limits the hardcopies of publications we produce and distribute. Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, distributed and printed.
Please make any requests at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
- Our online publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.