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Summary of Key Findings

These summary statistics and analyses are based on the European saproxylic beetles dataset published in March 2010.

Overall, nearly 11% of the assessed saproxylic beetles (46 species) are considered threatened in all of Europe, while at the EU 27 level, 14% (57 species) are threatened. A further 13% of saproxylic beetles are considered Near Threatened (56 species). However, for more than a quarter of the species (122 species - 28%), there was not enough scientific information to evaluate their risk of extinction and they were classified as Data Deficient - when more data become available, many of these might prove to be threatened too.

Although saproxylic beetles represent an ecological grouping and are not an entire taxonomic group, by comparison, 9% of butterflies, 13% of birds, 15% of mammals, 15% of dragonflies, 19% of reptiles, and 23% of amphibians are threatened. No other groups have yet been assessed at the European level.

Almost 14% of the species assessed have declining populations. Approximately 27% are more or less stable and only 2% are increasing. The population trend for 249 species (57%) remains unknown.

A high proportion of threatened and Near Threatened saproxylic beetle species are endemic to either Europe or EU, highlighting the responsibility that European countries have to protect the entire global populations of these species. More than half of all the species threatened (Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable) at the European level are endemic to Europe and are found nowhere else in the world.

For saproxylic beetles species richness is greatest at intermediate latitudes (France, Germany, Slovak Republic) as well as in southern Europe. The main long-term threats identified are habitat loss in relation to logging and wood harvesting and the decline of veteran trees throughout the landscape, as well as lack of land management targeted at promotion of recruitment of new generations of trees. More short-term and localised threats arise from (often ill-informed) sanitation and removal of old trees due to (often misconceived) safety constraints, in places heavily influenced by humans. Other threats include agricultural expansion and intensification, urbanisation, forest fires and climate change.