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The earth's ecosystem needs a variety of biotopes, species and a biodiversity within the species to be sustainable and prosperous. A healthy forest with a biological diversity is vital as it is the habitat of a very large amount of species. In a large part of Sweden today, there is a scarcity of dead timber which is problematic and threatens the existence of a number of forest-living species, for example insects that use these environments for feeding and nesting opportunities.
One species that suffers tremendously by the scarcity of dead timber is Europe's largest beetle, the stag beetle. The stag beetle nests and lay eggs next to old logs or timber of dead oak trees. The prevalence of the stag beetle has decreased drastically in recent decades, and it is classified as endangered species as it is rare throughout Sweden except in certain parts of Blekinge and Kalmar. The stag beetle is also included in the EU’s Habitats Directive, which lists species and habitats of interest in order to safeguard biodiversity within the EU member states. The beetle larva, which lives exclusively on dead oakwood, spend up to seven years in such environments as it is evolving.
The shortage of old, drying dead oak trees creates critical living conditions for the stag beetle and other endangered species that need these environments for reproduction and breeding. It is therefore crucial that old hollow oak trees remain in the forests where they slowly are decomposed by nature. Kährs urges its oak suppliers to make sure the mature oak trees, with no economic value in industrial production but with great value for the ecosystem, are left for the benefit of nature. Old "garden oaks" that have grown freely with large widespread tree crowns cannot be used in flooring production but has a tremendous value for the forest biodiversity.
Kährs has for several years participated in Kalmar County Administrative Board's project to save the endangered stag beetle. The project includes donating and transporting oak timber to establish habitats of oak timber that provide the beetles with sites to nest and breed. Until now, Kährs has contributed with enough timber to establish 25 breeding sites around the county. The habitats of wood, the stag beetle “hotels", consist of rotten oak wood which hopefully will attract beetles to nest and lay eggs since the larvae from the eggs live exclusively of dead oak wood.
“Within our flooring production we sometimes receive oak timber that we cannot use in the floor production for various reasons, for example if it has started to decay. The best usage for such timber is to ensure it comes to use in the forest ecosystem. Kährs has contributed with oak trees to the stag beetle habitats at various locations around the county, and we have prepared nine sites within our industrial estate in Nybro”, says Bruce Uhler, Sustainability Manager, Kährs Group.
It is not yet certain whether any eggs and larvae currently exist on the breeding sites, but we have found several deceased female beetles which shows that the sites have at least been visited by the large beetles. In addition, we know that hundreds of other insects appreciate the environments and benefit the access to old timber the sites provide.
Via the United Nations, all nations of the world have agreed that a strategy is needed to protect and restore and promote a sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainable manage of forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation; and halt biodiversity loss. Sustainability and environmental issues are at the heart of Kährs and the commitment to protect the ecosystem and ensure the stag beetle’s survival is in line with one of Kährs’ prioritized goals in the UN Agenda 2030, 15) Life on Land. Within this focus area, Kährs are devoted in contributing to the protection, restoration and promotion of sustainable use of land-based ecosystems, including sustainably managing forests and by the loss of biodiversity.