Ecological network for Osmoderma eremita and other species dependent on veteran trees
Lithuanian Fund for Nature in partnership with Daugavpils University Nature Studies and Environmental Education Centre, Kaunas City Municipality and Lithuanian Zoological Garden are implementing a project "Ecological network for Osmoderma eremita and other species dependent on veteran trees". The project lasts from 2017 to 2022 and is partially funded by European Union's environmental funding mechanism LIFE.
Targeted species of the project is hermit beetle (Osmoderma eremita/barnabita), listed in 2 (V) category of protected animals, plants and fungus (Red Data Book of Lithuania) and in appendixes II and IV of European Union Directive 92/43/EEB for Natural Habitats and Wild Fauna and Flora Conservation (The Habitats Directive). Most of their lifetime these beetles spend inside trunks of broad-leaved veteran trees, therefore condition of such trees, their numbers and possibility for migration, both among individual trees or among groups of trees, are directly related with future survival of the hermit beetle. And not only of this beetle – by establishing living conditions favourable to hermit beetle, likewise benefit other species dependent on old veteran trees – such as edible dormouse (Glis glis), tawny owl (Strix aluco), variable chafer (Gnorimus variabilis), pseudoscorpion (Anthrenochernes stellae), Hapalopilus croceus, ceramic fungus (Xylobolus frustulatus) etc.
Ecological corridor will be established during the project by managing habitats of target species and creating stepping stones as well as temporary habitats between the core zones. Natura 2000 areas, designated particularly for conservation of the hermit beetle – Kaunas Oak Forest (LTKAU0020), Dūkštos Oak Forest (LTVIN0007) and The Slope of Neris River by Verkiai (LTVIN0012) were chosen as the core zones. This ecological network will become a part of a cross-border ecological network of Lithuania-Latvia, where fragmentation of the hermit beetle populations and gaps in the gene flow among sub-populations will be identified. Also, re-introduction of populations is intended into restored historical habitats of the hermit beetle, while observation methods will be improved and optimised by adjusting modern technologies.
During the project, special emphasis will be put on environmental education of the general public. Educational material will be prepared and released, public events organized, educational trail in Kaunas Oak Park installed, informational boards built in areas of the project, the project, and its activities will be introduced in mass media and in the project website.
Aiming to gain new experience about conservation of the hermit beetle and its habitats and to share already acquired knowledge with other experts, the project team will participate in meetings with the experts from other countries, seminars, study tours; present it in various publications, i.e., best practice guidelines, management guidelines for veteran trees and deadwood, scientific articles.
Total budget of the project – 1,378,000 EUR. European Commission supports the project by allocating funding of 1,033,180 EUR, Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania – 316,940 EUR, project partners – 27,880 EUR.