Rare species found on LIFE for MIRES project area

Astonishing results of the Great wetland competition
25. 7. 2021

Green Belt Czech Republic-Bavaria: Trans-boundary ecological network for the raised bog large ground beetle

The raised bog large ground beetle (Carabus menetriesi pacholei) is a so-called “priority species” of the EU’s Natura 2000 Directive. These species are highly endangered throughout Europe and the EU member states have a special responsibility to protect them. Its habitat are raised bogs and transitional fens, which are also priority habitats and thus worthy of special protection under EU law.

In summer of 2020, a monitoring of the raised bog large ground beetle started on a LIFE for MIRES project area of BUND Bavaria. In cooperation with the Bavarian State Institute of Forestry (LWF) and after approval by the responsible nature conservation authorities, an elaborate but non-affecting procedure was used to search for the species in July and August. In 2021, the so important “indicator species” could actually be detected! Considering that the area had only recently been restored, this is a very rapid success. This can be explained by the fact that the area still contained near-natural bog forest areas with many peat mosses even before the measure, and that larger and intact bogs are present in the surrounding area.

The raised bog large ground beetle needs sparse to semi-open and wet areas, such as “Spirkenfilze” (near-natural, sparse forestation with Pinus rotundata on mires, originally typical for Bavaria and the Czech Republic). Mire complexes with an area of less than 20 hectares are hardly colonized by the species, which has a low dispersal rate. This indicates that the proven occurrence benefits from the existing transboundary peatland complexes along the Green Belt and especially the large peatland areas on the Czech side and the low degree of landscape fragmentation. In the past, the drainage of mires and the subsequent planting of dense spruce cultures, which completely shade the area and extract additional water from the soil, have impaired the habitat of the raised bog beetle over large areas. In the project, such areas are cleared and wetted again. The restoration measures implemented on both sides of the border in the LIFE for MIRES project promote cross-border habitat connectivity for this and numerous other species that depend on peatlands.

More information about the raised bog large ground beetle in Bavaria (in German): https://www.lwf.bayern.de/mam/cms04/biodiversitaet/dateien/hochmoor-laufk%C3%A4fer.pdf

Photo: Carabus menetriesi pacholei by Karel Kleijn

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