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Distribution and ecological requirements of the red wood ants in Switzerland


As ecosystem engineers, red wood ants alter and modify habitats for other organisms and play an important phytosanitary role. This makes them key species in forest ecosystems that have a major impact on forest biodiversity. Although the biology and lifestyle of the native, mound-building wood ants are well known, the ecological requirements and the environmental factors that are important for suitable nest locations are only poorly understood. As part of the Swiss National Forest Inventory (LFI), we are recording the red wood ants and investigating the status and distribution of these insects in the Swiss forest. In addition, we would like to know more about the role of anthropogenic influence on the distribution of red wood ants.