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Goal: Sustain Our Nation’s Forests and Grasslands Saproxylic insects: diversity, ecology, and conservation

Close-up of a Lucanus elaphus, or giant stag beetle

Lucanus elaphus (female), or giant stag beetle, a wood-feeding beetle native to the southeastern United States. (Forest Service photo by Michael Ulyshen)


A new book synthesizes global knowledge about one of the most diverse groups of insects in forests, those associated with dying and dead wood.


Approximately one third of all forest insect species are saproxylic, meaning they depend on dying or dead wood. In addition to their importance to biodiversity, many of these species provide key ecosystem services – including the breakdown of woody debris and controlling pest populations. Documented declines of saproxylic insect diversity from the intensively managed landscapes of Europe serve as a cautionary tale for land managers throughout the world. This book, entitled “Saproxylic Insects: Diversity, Ecology and Conservation,” represents a global collaboration that reviews the current state of knowledge about these organisms. It consists of 25 chapters on prioritized topics: overviews of particular saproxylic insect groups, various aspects of their ecology, and in-depth considerations for land managers. This book is expected to increase awareness about the diversity of insect life associated with dying and dead wood and should promote the conservation of these organisms in managed forests.

Principal Investigator
Michael Ulyshen, Research Entomologist
4552 - Insects, Diseases, and Invasive Plants
Strategic Program Area
Wildlife and Fish
An introduction to the diversity, ecology and conservation of saproxylic insects
CompassLive Story
Definitive New Book on Saproxylic Insects
External Partners
Amy Berkov, The City University of New York
Peter H. W. Biedermann, University of Würzburg, Germany
David Bignell, Queen Mary University of London, UK
Tone Birkemoe, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway
Petr Bogusch , University of Hradec Králové, Poland
Christophe Bouget , Irstea, France
Mark A. Bradford, Yale University, USA
Manuela Branco, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Antoine Brin, University of Toulouse, France
Claas Damken, Dunedin, New Zealand
Mats Dynesius, Umeå, Sweden
Heike Feldhaar, University of Bayreuth, Germany
Michael L. Ferro, Clemson University, USA
Michał Filipiak, Jagiellonian University, Poland
Ryan C. Garrick, University of Mississippi, USA
Matthew L. Gimmel, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Martin M. Gossner, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Switzerland
Anne-Maarit Hekkala, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
Jacek Hilszczański, Forest Research Institute, Poland
Joakim Hjältén, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
E. Richard Hoebeke, University of Georgia
Jakub Horák, Czech University of Life Sciences, Czech Republic
Scott Horn, USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station
Ta-I Huang, DowDuPont, Taiwan
Rannveig M. Jacobsen, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway
Tomasz Jaworski, Forest Research Institute, Poland
Andreas Karlsson-Tiselius, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
Joshua R. King, University of Central Florida
Thibault Lachat, Bern University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland
David W. Langor, Canadian Forest Service
Seung-Il Lee, University of Alberta, Canada
Therese Löfroth, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
Daniel S. Maynard, University of Chicago
Estefanía Micó, Universidad de Alicante, Spain
Roger Mugerwa-Pettersson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
Jörg Müller, University of Würzburg, Germany
Stephen M. Pawson, Scion, New Zealand
Bastian Schauer, University of Bayreuth, Germany
Sebastian Seibold, Technische Universität München, Germany
Jan Šobotník, Czech University of Life Sciences, Czech Republic
John R. Spence, University of Alberta, Canada
Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson , Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway
Simon Thorn, University of Würzburg, Germany
Robert Warren, SUNY Buffalo State, USA