In the breach for iconic beetle, the stag beetle
At 9 cm long, the stag beetle is our largest indigenous species. However, this iconic species is not doing so well in Flanders. Currently there are only 4 known metapopulations, one of which is in Voeren. That population was not well known at the time of approval of the species protection programme (SPP). Time to take action and make a further inventory of the area.
What is a species protection programme or SPP?
A species protection programme is developed in consultation with relevant stakeholders and contains measures to ensure the favourable conservation status of a specie (or multiple species) in Flanders. A SPP is approved by the minister and has a duration of 5 years. EU species who have an unfavourable conservation status are prioritised within the Natura 2000 framework. Read more about it here.
Together with the INBO and a VUB internship student, Nature and Forests has been mapping the habitat of the species and conducting night-time searches in order to determine the presence/absence.
This effort paid off as the species appears to be present in more places than initially thought! A first step in the right direction. Now we will investigate at which sites the habitat can be improved and how the small populations can be linked.
Drafting the SPP is part of the LIFE BNIP project.
For more information, visit the website of Nature and Forests.