The larvae of Hammerschmidtia ferruginea are found in wet decaying cambium that builds up under the bark of recently fallen or dead standing trees, and large branches of aspen with a diameter of at least 30 cm. Wet decaying cambium builds up for about four years in any one branch or tree before the bark cracks and it dries out. Population sizes have never been monitored, but the number of larvae present in individual pieces of fallen wood is generally under 50, and they may be vulnerable to over collecting. Only aspen stands which extend over 4.5 ha are large enough to maintain the continuity of fresh inputs of suitably sized fallen timber needed for H. ferruginea. Most aspen stands in Scotland are small, less than 1.5 ha. In the Highlands, only 14 aspen stands extend over 4.5 ha and H. ferruginea is virtually absent from the numerous smaller stands, particularly those beyond 1 km of the core stands.
H. ferruginea is rare and thought to be endangered in Europe. It is an indicator of ancient woodlands of international importance in Europe. In 1990-93, H. ferruginea was known from eight sites in the British Isles. Intensive survey throughout Scotland during 1990-3, including all previous locations, extended its known distribution to 12 sites in 8 ten km squares in the north-east of Scotland. The main stronghold is Strathspey between Newtonmore in the south and Grantown in the north. Other sites are in the valley of the Findhorn, Easter Ross, Wester Ross, south-east Sutherland and Deeside.
In Great Britain this species is classified as Endangered.
Current factors causing loss or decline
Removal of dead standing and fallen timber.
Loss of aspen woodlands to road and building development.
Small size and isolation of aspen stands.
The Malloch Society surveyed all suitable aspen stands between 1990 and 1993.
Populations are present on one NNR and others are on land managed by RSPB, FE and LAs.
Action plan objectives and targets
Maintain populations at all known sites
Enhance the population size at all known sites by 2010.
Restore populations to three suitable sites by 2010.
Proposed actions with lead agencies
Policy and legislation
Consider adding Hammerschmidtia ferruginea to Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. (ACTION: DETR, JNCC)
Take account of the requirements of H. ferruginea when considering felling and forestry schemes in core aspen areas. (ACTION: FC)
Encourage the use of woodland grant schemes to plant aspen in and around core areas. (ACTION: FC, SNH)
Site safeguard and management
Where possible, ensure that all occupied and potential habitat is appropriately managed by 2008. (ACTION: FE, LAs, SNH)
Where possible, increase the available habitat at known sites and adjacent areas, and attempt to link up existing fragments of habitat. (ACTION: FE, SNH)
Ensure that the species is included on site management plans, particularly on land managed by RSPB, FE and LAs and the NNR on which H. ferruginea occurs. (ACTION: FE, LAs, SNH)
Ensure that the habitat requirements of H. ferruginea are taken into account in any relevant development policies, plans and proposals. (ACTION: LAs, SNH)
Consider notifying as SSSI sites supporting viable populations of H. ferruginea, where this is necessary to secure long-term protection and appropriate management. (ACTION: SNH)
Species management and protection
Ensure that any proposals to introduce beavers will not conflict with the requirements of Hammerschmidtia ferruginea. (ACTION: SNH)
Advise landowners and managers of aspen stands over 1.5 ha of the presence of the species and the importance of beneficial management for its conservation. (ACTION: SNH)
Develop and disseminate guidelines to protect Hammerschmidtia ferruginea for use with: landowners; FC, LA, RSPB and SNH area staff; Highland Birchwoods and the Cairngorms Partnership. (ACTION: FC, LAs, SNH)
Future Research and Monitoring
Monitor the distribution and abundance of Hammerschmidtia ferruginea within the core areas once every four years. (ACTION: SNH)
Monitor the quantity of suitably aged fallen and dead standing timber within the core areas. (ACTION: SNH)
Pass information gathered during survey and monitoring of this species to a central database so that it can be incorporated in national databases. (ACTION: SNH)
Communications and Publicity
Promote opportunities for the appreciation of H. ferruginea and the conservation issues associated with aspen woodlands in Scotland. (ACTION: FA, LAs, SNH)
Links with other action plans
The following LBAPs are working on Hammerschmidtia ferruginea:
Originally published in: UK Biodiversity Group Tranche 2 Action Plans - Volume IV: Invertebrates (March 1999, Tranche 2, Vol IV, p173)