Pheromone-based monitoring of threatened forest insect biodiversity
The Swedish forest landscape has undergone rapid, extensive changes during the last 150 years as demand for forest products by the human society has increased. Forests have become increasingly homogenous with a widespread loss of habitats important to forest biodiversity. Consequently, a large proportion of forest biodiversity is threatened with extinction. This situation is disturbing as biodiversity loss may have serious consequences for ecosystem stability and ultimately the human society. To balance preservation of forest biodiversity against resource harvesting in cost-effective ways will be an increasingly important undertaking as demands for forest products can be expected to continue to increase.
Insects constitute a major proportion of the total forest biodiversity and are essential for maintaining other biodiversity. Much effort has been made to map the distribution of forest insects and study effects of forestry, but studies have often been time consuming and costly with varying data accuracy. As a result, there is great need for more informed decision strategies and evaluation methods on how different management regimes influence forest insect biodiversity.
My PhD project will examine how pheromone-based monitoring can be used to evaluate forest management effects on threatened forest insects. Pheromones have traditionally been used in a pest management context, but have the potential to revolutionize how forest insects can be studied by offering a cost-efficient and highly accurate form of sampling.
Ultimately, the project will provide new evidence-based management directions for saproxylic insects by performing detailed studies on how selected indicator species interact with the forest landscape at different spatial scales and nature management strategies. A central goal is the development of a toolbox of saproxylic insect species which indicate the presence of key forest habitats and varying degrees of habitat quality. The toolbox can be used to evaluate effects of different forest management strategies and describe ecological processes.