The “dehesa” (grassland with scattered oak trees) is a typical Mediterranean ecosystem from west Iberian Peninsula that has resulted from the transformation of the forest by clearing and brushwood removing and the landscape is maintained mainly bulls and/or Iberian pigs. This ecosystem is characterized by the presence of old scattered trees that are considered as “keystone-structures”, which favor the presence of a wide range of biodiversity, especially those species that are wood-dependent (saproxylic insects). Saproxylics are a diversified group involved in the recycling process of nutrients in forest, and thus they are considered as a bioindicator group of the quality and conservation status of habitats, including a wide number of species under some categories of threat according the IUCN criteria. It is widely recognized the importance of studying the main factors that determine the structure and distribution of species assemblages at both spatial and temporal scales, nevertheless, the saproxylic assemblages has been poorly studied from the temporal dimension. With this study we provide knowledge about the effect of the “dehesa” heterogeneity, species seasonality and distribution on this habitat and we highlight the importance of the maintaining of traditional practices as a tool for saproxylic insect diversity and conservation.
Mediterranean ecosystem; Habitat heterogeneity; Scattered trees; Pollard; Tree hollow; Redlist species