Dead wood has been identified as a crucial component for forest biodiversity. Recent research has improved our understanding of habitat relations for many species associated with dead wood. However, the consequences for forest management are yet to be explored. In this review we build upon the growing volume of studies on dead wood dependent species, the dynamics of dead wood and ecological theory in order to identify the challenges for forest management at the landscape level. The review has a Fennoscandian focus, but the problems and challenges are similar in many forest ecosystems. We argue that it is necessary to 1) counteract the current shortage in availability of dead wood, 2) concentrate planning at the landscape level in order to minimize isolation and reduce edge effects, 3) create a variety of dead wood types, and 4) utilise available quantitative analytical tools. This calls for new approaches to management that to a large extent includes available knowledge, and to find platforms for planning forested landscapes with diverse holdings.