5 Jun 2014
Wood Ants as Indicators of Virgin Forests of Spruce and Fir in Bosnia-Herzegovina (Formica rufa group)
This project is of significant importance for future conservation of wood ants and ant habitats in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Through this project it will be possible to establish long term wood ants monitoring program.
This project should shed more light on the distribution of Formica rufa group in the area of two mountains Ozren and Trebevic near Sarajevo. Sarajevo city area is biggest urban zone in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Surrounding natural habitats near Sarajevo are under great pressure due deforestation, illegal building, tourism and pollution. Mt. Ozren and Olympic Mt. Trebevic are under extra pressure due to fact that these mountains are favourite excursion sites for Sarajevo citizens. Their four anthropogenic impacts on this region is overwhelming and lack of any kind of protection and management puts extensive pressure on the nature, especially on wood ecosystems.
Assessing data from surrounding area is essential for understanding spatial relationships between Formica rufa, Formica polyctena and general diversity of other species in the subgenus Formica. Determining areas with significant populations of wood ant species is necessary for preparing proposals to the local government for protection of wood habitats on Mt. Ozren and Trebevic. We will acquired data about colony structure and dispersal strategy relate differently to the dynamics and landscape structure of boreal forests. In this project we analyse abundance and distribution of wood ants on vertical and horizontal geographical profile, we will also analyse presence and distribution of polygynous and monogynous forms of Formica rufa and F. polyctena. Habitat analysis will evaluate the impact of legal and illegal deforestation, impact of tourism and its accompanying infrastructure on habitat destruction. Analysis will be based on habitat structure parameters. In particular, there are no data available linked to population studies such as number of colonies on defined surface on Mt. Trebevic and Ozren.
The improved knowledge acquired during the project will be used in making of educational programs that are appropriate and accessible for children and adults. These programs will allow a better understanding of ant biology and ecological importance of ants in general.