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This paper describes some of the research needed to help forest managers achieve Ecologically Sustainable Forest Management. As a case study, it also presents an overview of some of the research conducted to meet those needs in the state of Victoria, and identifies priorities for further research, monitoring and adaptive management. Vertebrate wildlife (mainly birds and mammals) has been a major focus of this review. The main strategic research questions concern the successional effects of logging, the relative merits and costs of integration or segregation and the appropriate scale for spatial integration. Retrospective research is a valuable tool to address some of the key questions, but longitudinal studies (i.e. over time), are also needed. Successional studies have identified hollow-dependent wildlife species and species that feed from open ground among trees as those that are most sensitive to logging. Thinning and control burning may have potential value as tools to modify regrowth forest structure to benefit the latter group, but this new concept needs field-testing. A general focus on hollow-dependent species may have diverted attention from the needs of other groups. A logical scheme is presented for evaluating costs and benefits of spatial integration or segregation in particular cases. The shape of the response curve is crucial in making these evaluations, but this aspect has received little attention. Segregation often has benefits both for wildlife conservation and wood production, but there are exceptions and socio-economic reasons for developing more integrated systems. Retaining patches of habitat on selected coupes combines some of the benefits of both approaches, and has been introduced on a trial basis in mixed eucalypt forests and ash forests, with associated monitoring. Effects of spatial scale and pattern have been studied in ash forests but more work of this sort is needed in mixed eucalypt forests and box-ironbark forests. Large owls have been used as umbrella species to select areas for special protection based on extensive field surveys, modelling and field-testing. Further monitoring and detailed research is needed to evaluate and refine the effectiveness of this strategy. This approach forms part of a suite of forest planning processes, which increasingly involve community participation. Associated research is needed to help inform debate and decisions in an adaptive management framework.

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