Create or retain deadwood in forest management

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    not assessed
  • Certainty
    not assessed
  • Harms
    not assessed

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study evaluated the effects on butterflies and moths of creating or retaining deadwood in forest management. This study was in Sweden.



  • Abundance (1 study): One replicated, site comparison study in Sweden found that sites where deadwood had been left for many years had a higher abundance of Scardia boletella moths than conventionally managed sites in one of two regions, but the occurrence of Archinemapogon yildizae moths was similar across all sites.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A replicated, site comparison study in 1992–1995 in 25 forests in Uppland and Östergötland, Sweden (Jonsell & Nordlander 2002) found that sites where deadwood had been left for many years supported more Scardia boletella moths than conventionally managed sites in one of two regions, but the occurrence of Archinemapogon yildizae moths was similar across all sites. In one of two regions, the proportion of tinder fungus Fomes fomentarius fruiting bodies in which Scardia boletella was found was higher at sites with a long history of deadwood presence (33–36% of 133 fruiting bodies) than at sites with a short history of deadwood presence (0–10% of 177 fruiting bodies) or with little deadwood (0% of 28 fruiting bodies), but there was no significant difference in the other region (long: 0–54% of 172 fruiting bodies; short: 0–38% of 260 fruiting bodies; no sites with little deadwood). The proportion of red-belted conk Fomitopsis pinicola and tinder fungus fruiting bodies on which A. yildizae moths were found was not significantly different at sites with a long (conk: 3–17% of 239 fruiting bodies; tinder: 0–29% of 305 fruiting bodies) or short (conk: 1–6% of 628 fruiting bodies; tinder: 0–10% of 437 fruiting bodies) history of deadwood presence, or with little deadwood (conk: 0–3% of 104 fruiting bodies; tinder: 7% of 28 fruiting bodies). Twenty-five forests were managed with one of three strategies based on the availability of deadwood: 10 sites had large amounts of deadwood which was likely to have been continuously available for >100 years; 12 sites had large amounts of deadwood which was not likely to have been available 100 years earlier; and three sites were managed conventionally for timber production, with little deadwood available. From 1992–1995, a total of 976 fruiting bodies of red-belted conk were collected from 11 sites, and 770 fruiting bodies of tinder fungus were collected from 20 sites. These were collected by walking a random route through each site, and sampling 1–8 fruiting bodies from every second tree trunk which contained some. Fungi were kept in sealed boxes with a glass vial inserted to collect emerging insects, and kept outdoors from September to February to experience natural temperatures.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Bladon A.J., Bladon, E. K., Smith R.K. & Sutherland W.J. (2023) Butterfly and Moth Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions for butterflies and moths. Conservation Evidence Series Synopsis. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Butterfly and Moth Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Butterfly and Moth Conservation
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Butterfly and Moth Conservation - Published 2023

Butterfly and Moth Synopsis

What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 21

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust