In contemporary forest management, also of commercial forests, threshold values are widely used for consideration of biodiversity conservation. Here, we present various aspects of dead-wood threshold values. We review published and unpublished dead-wood threshold data from European lowland beech-oak, mixed-montane, and boreo-alpine spruce-pine forests separately to provide managers of European forests with a baseline for management decisions for their specific forest type. Our review of dead-wood threshold data from European forests revealed 36 critical values with ranges of 10-80 m(3) ha(-1) for boreal and lowland forests and 10-150 m(3) ha(-1) for mixed-montane forests, with peak values at 20-30 m(3) ha(-1) for boreal coniferous forests, 30-40 m(3) ha(-1) for mixed-montane forests, and 30-50 m(3) ha(-1) for lowland oak-beech forests. We then expand the focus of dead-wood threshold analyses to community composition. We exemplify the two major statistical methods applied in ecological threshold analysis to stimulate forest researchers to analyze more of their own data with a focus on thresholds. Finally, we discuss further directions of dead-wood threshold analysis. We anticipate that further investigations of threshold values will provide a more comprehensive picture of critical ranges for dead wood, which is urgently needed for an ecological and sustainable forestry.