Conservation of the white-backed woodpecker 

The white-backed woodpecker is critically endangered in Sweden. Today there are only 60 individuals left , but 250 individuals are needed for survival. The woodpecker is an umbrella species important for many other species living in the same kind of forest. 

Old deciduous forests – an impoverished habitat 

The white-backed woodpecker has high requirements on the environment and is dependent on old deciduous forests rich in dead wood. They feed on wood-boring and bark-living insects, living in dead and decaying wood. Especially important trees are aspen, birch, European alder, grey alder and goat willow.

Unfortunately, the forest industry in Sweden has replaced deciduous trees with pine and spruce which are more profitable. This had led to an impoverishment of the woodpecker’s habitat.

Why do we need to save the white-backed woodpecker? 

The white-back woodpecker is an umbrella species, meaning its survival is not only important for itself but for several other species dependent on the same environmental conditions. Consequently, conservation actions directed towards saving the white-backed woodpecker will help save other species as well.

What we do to save the white-backed woodpecker 

Project White-backed Woodpecker has been run by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) since 1990. The aim is to protect both the white-backed woodpecker and its environment. This is what we do: 

  • In collaboration with volunteers, county boards and forest companies, we work with restoration and conservation of suitable habitats.
  • Together with different partners, we conduct captive breeding and release of woodpeckers into the wild and supplementary feeding programs. 
  • Nationally, we work towards an enhancement and reform of current forest policy. We also work to ensure that international laws governing species protection and UN conventions are followed.

Help us save the white-backed woodpecker from extinction!