A fox and a badger.

Could Biodiversity Be a Key to Better Forest Carbon Storage in Europe?

April 13, 2023 | Source: Mongabay | by Mark Hillsdon

This May, Scarabaeus laticollis will return to France’s southeast and to one of Europe’s biggest plantation forests. Eighty of these lowly Old World dung beetles, first described by the naturalist Linnaeus in 1767, will be reintroduced at the Étang de Cousseau National Reserve as a first step to improving forest biodiversity there.

Unlike other dung beetles, S. laticollis not only rolls dung into neat balls, but also takes them underground, recycling important soil nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous, while dispersing grass and tree seeds. Importantly, local breeds of cattle — which aren’t given antibiotics, resulting in drug-free dung — have also been introduced to graze the land.

The dung beetle’s arrival marks the first release under the new European Wildlife Comeback Fund (EWCF) which aims at reintroducing a variety of native animals across the continent, including keystone species like the dung beetle, the red deer (Cervus elaphus) and fallow deer (Dama dama) in the Danube Delta, Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in northwest Poland, and Sorraia horses (Equus ferus caballus) in Portugal’s Sintra-Cascais Natural Park.