The incorporation of Lucanus cervus (L.) in Annex 2 of the EU Habitats Directive imposed on EU member countries the obligation to prepare protection plans and undertake adequate measures aimed at the preservation of this species. A necessary precondition for their implementation was connected with the identification of current localities of L. cervus. This paper presents the distribution of L. cervus localities in Poland, identified on the basis of a survey conducted in the areas administered by the State Forests. Habitat preferences for the selection of biotopes by stag beetles were evaluated in terms of forest-site types. This will facilitate effective protection of L. cervus by indicating potential biotopes for this species, particularly in areas with high abundance. The survey showed the presence of L. cervus in 176 localities distributed in 47 forest districts. Most of them were found in three main areas comprising forests in the areas of Zielona Góra, Wrocław and the Świętokrzyskie Mts. They constitute large-scale refuges. In 98% of cases the development of L. cervus was associated with oaks Quercus robur and Quercus petraea. Other host plants included Fagus sylvatica and Acer pseudoplatanus. The age of trees colonised by stag beetles ranged from 70 to 248 years, 134 years on average. Lucanus cervus was most frequently found in deciduous mesic forest sites (41% of localities) and deciduous mixed mesic forest sites (24% of localities). Over 90% of recorded localities are situated in forested areas, understood to include stands, residual trees and stumps, as well as localities at forest edges and along roads in the vicinity of forests.