This large and conspicuous beetle is rare and protected in some European countries, but is still widespread in southern England, especially the Thames valley, north Essex, south Hampshire and West Sussex. It also occurs fairly frequently in the Severn valley and coastal areas of the south-west. Outside these areas the records are sparse and often old, indicating some contraction of the beetle`s range.
The stag beetle can be found in broadleaved woodland, parks, other pasture woodland and gardens. The larvae live in the decaying wood of deciduous trees, often in roots and stumps, and take at least three and a half years to become fully grown.
The stag beetle is listed on Annex II of the EC Habitats Directive.
Current factors causing loss or decline
Loss of habitat through the removal of stumps and other dead wood.
Collection for sale may be a contributory factor.
The JNCC has been encouraging people to record sightings through articles in Wildlife Trust newsletters and similar publications.
3 sites have been proposed as SACs for this species under the EC Habitats Directive.
Action plan objectives and targets
Maintain the population size at all key sites.
Maintain the current geographical range.
Proposed actions with lead agencies
Policy and legislation
Encourage the retention of dead wood within broadleaved woods and parks throughout the current range of the beetle. (ACTION: FA, LAs)
Site safeguard and management
Encourage appropriate habitat management, including the retention of dead wood, for all sites where the beetle is known to occur. (ACTION: NE, FA, LAs)
Seek to protect and ensure favourable management of a network of key sites throughout the range of the beetle. (ACTION: NE, FA, LAs)
Ensure that Site Management Statements take account of the requirements of this species on occupied SSSIs. (ACTION: NE)
Species management and protection
Consider adding this species to Schedule 5 of the WCA 1981. (ACTION: NE, JNCC)
Ensure landowners and managers are aware of the presence and importance of conserving this species, and appropriate methods of management for its conservation. (ACTION: NE)
Ensure the relevant societies and organisations are aware of the ecological implications of collecting this species. (ACTION: NE)
Future Research and Monitoring
Undertake surveys to establish more precisely the current distribution and identify key sites for conservation action. (ACTION: NE)
Promote research to clarify the precise habitat requirements of the species and the effects of collection on populations. (ACTION: NE)
Pass information gathered during survey and monitoring of this species to JNCC or BRC so that it can be incorporated in national databases. (ACTION: NE)
Communications and Publicity
Develop and implement a high profile strategy for raising public awareness (especially at the local community level) of the conservation needs of the stag beetle, in particular its reliance upon dead wood. (ACTION: NE)
Links with other action plans
Originally published in: Biodiversity: The UK Steering Group Report - Volume II: Action Plans (December 1995, Tranche 1, Vol 2, p147)
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