Key message: Dead wood in forests is an important resource due to its role for nutrient cycles, carbon budgets, and biodiversity, among other. While standing and downed dead wood are typically monitored in National Forest Inventories (NFI), stumps have not received comparable attention. Based on the detailed stump inventory in the current Swiss NFI, this study demonstrates the important contribution of stumps to the dead wood pool. Context: Dead wood (DW) in forests is an important resource due to its role for nutrient cycles, carbon budgets, and biodiversity, among other. NFIs provide representative DW estimates focusing primarily on standing and downed DW. Little is known on stumps as a DW pool. Aims: The aim of this study is to obtain an accurate assessment of the stump volume and biomass in the Swiss NFI to identify its significance for the DW pool, to evaluate the development over the last 30 years, and to examine the need for additional measurements for improving estimates compared to commonly applied assumptions for stump height such as a constant stump height or a fraction of tree height. Methods: The current NFI includes a detailed stump inventory to improve accuracy and completeness of the aboveground DW pool estimate. Based on available data, stump volume estimates were derived at different accuracies to evaluate the contribution to the total DW pool over time. Results: Based on the extended stump inventory in the NFI5, the contribution of stumps to the total DW pool is approximately 25%. The effect of simplifying assumptions or limited measurements to estimate stump volume can result in a significant underestimation of up to 2/3 of the more accurate and comprehensive assessment of this pool. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that stumps can be a significant proportion of DW in forests, which should be accounted for in order to improve accuracy and completeness of NFI estimates and derived data such as C stocks for greenhouse gas reporting.