Conservation and development of old-growth and deadwood islands

Conservation and development of old-growth and deadwood islands
Old-growth and deadwood islands are important habitats for numerous animal and plant species. © soquett/

Involved sectors

Forestry, Hunting, Nature protection

Affected habitats



In the normal commercial forest, trees are grown for optimum timber quality and are felled before they reach biological maturity. However, many species of flora and fauna are dependent on old, very old and even dead trees. In areas of woodland, groups of trees should therefore be preserved beyond the commercial cutting interval in order to create old-growth and deadwood habitats. These old-growth and deadwood islands also perform an important role in ecological connectivity.


Impact in particular on Small mammals, Birds, Insects
Ecological impact  
Improvement or preservation of habitats Old-growth forest and dead trees provide a habitat for a variety of insects and species of bird.
Element of ecological network By designating old-growth forests rich in deadwood as part of a biotope network, important stepping stone biotopes can be created for rare species (e.g. Three-toed Woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus), various species of bat ...).
Time of realisation for measure Long term: Old-growth and deadwood islands develop slowly as part of the development of stands. The associated fauna, too, only becomes established over the long term.
Impact scope Local (municipality): A network of old-growth stands and deadwood islands with a mesh width of approx. 500 m should be developed at municipal or, if possible, at regional level in order to achieve genuine impacts as part of a biotope network.


Implementation period Long term: Old-growth and deadwood islands must be planned and developed as part of the stand over the long term within the framework of forest management.
Frequency Recurring: Requires regular care or adaptation and careful management.

Economic and legal aspects

Costs Very low (less than 1'000 EUR): No costs. In some regions, financial support is provided for the conservation of old-growth and deadwood.
Socio-economic impacts Low: Income loss due to delayed use or non-use of the affected trees.
Sources of financing Other private sources, Public: local, Public: regional, Public: national, Public: European
Legal situation As a rule, these are voluntary measures but may be mandatory in some certified forests.

Further information

Evaluation In order to achieve a good impact as part of a biotope networking project, the measure must be implemented across a relatively large area with equal distribution of "island" spaces.
Information Other: A wealth of information is available on the Internet site:, which covers a range of forest-related topics.

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