The assessment of the relation between species diversity, species interactions and stability is a major goal for conservation strategies of saproxylic insects in Iberian Mediterranean woodlands. In these woodlands, tree hollows in standing living trees are key microhabitats for saproxylic biodiversity. We assess the variation in the tree hollow-saproxylic insect network among three woodland sites in the Cabañeros National Park (Spain), and evaluate their implications for saproxylic assemblages’ persistence, through simulations of three possible scenarios of loss of tree hollow microhabitats. The composition of tree hollows is closely related to biotic and ecological complexity of saproxylic networks, and together exhibit positive effects on network stability. By other side, different scenarios entail different reorganizations of saproxylic diversity of species and interactions, and the variation of the main interacting attributes. Woodlands providing higher proportion of large tree hollows are less sensitive to microhabitat loss. Conservation strategies for saproxylic insects in Iberian Mediterranean woodlands should consider woodland composition and configuration as key factors in the selection of priority conservation areas.
Saproxylic insect; Tree hollow; Mediterranean woodland; Iberian Peninsula; Extinction simulation; Network stability