The three-toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus)was first observed in the region of Pays-d'Enhaut ten years ago and is a great specialist of dead wood. This species is a suitable indicator for the quantitative and qualitative evaluation of ecological forest quality. The investigation results originating from five spruce mountain forests where the bird is present and three forests where it is assert are inventoried in the Pays-d'Enhaut region of Switzerland. The results suggest that the emergence of the woodpecker population could be due to under-management of the forest over the last forty years. The dead wood volumes in the forest with the woodpecker are similar to those of other unmanaged European forests. Forests situated above 1400 m above sea-level are recommended to be considered as ‹forest reserves›, whereas in managed forests up to an altitude of 1400 m, all trees with woodpecker's beakmarks and all snags with DBH over 30 cm should be left.

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