The amount and annual net accumulation of above-ground dead woody material were quantified in a tropical deciduous forest in western Mexico. Three plots were located within a small watershed (16 ha) and distributed along a 150-m-elevation gradient (Upper, Middle and Lower plot). Total amount of above-ground dead phytomass (fine + coarse) was 27.2 Mg ha-1. Coarse dead category (branches + logs) made up 70.6% (19.2 Mg ha-1) of the total. The rest comprised the fine fraction, which was lying on the forest floor as surface litter. Of the total coarse dead woody mass, 70.8% was standing, hanging or still attached to live trees (13.6 Mg ha-1). Dead wood net accumulation was 6.6 Mg ha-1 y-1; 58% of this was coarse woody material and the rest comprised the fine litterfall fraction. The amount of standing, hanging/attached dead branches (2-20 cm circumference) varied significantly among plots, with the highest value in the Upper plot. Dead wood net accumulation was similar between the Upper and Middle plots, and significantly higher than the Lower plot. Compared to the intact canopy, the removal of dead mass (hanging/attached dead branches and standing dead logs) caused a significant decrease in throughfall nutrient concentration and nutrient flux by this pathway.