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1Wildlife Management Branch, Department o f Conservation and Environment, 123 Brown Street, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia 3084.

Old-growth forests of south-east Australia are characterized by high numbers of large live trees, stags and large logs on the ground and in streams . These features dominate the forest structure and In large part determine composition (including flora and fauna) and function (energy flow and nutrient cycling). The management of south-east Australia’s old-growth forests has entered a critical phase. They will continue to decline in area and be fragmented due to demand for timber products. The long-term implications for wildlife dependent on resources found most abundantly within old-growth forests is uncertain. Flexible management strategies are required to curb the trend towards fragmentation and to ensure the continued viability of forest age-classes that are many times older than those planned for under the proposed timber harvesting rotation periods. A proposed scheme of Regional Systems of Retained Habitat, including present and future old-growth forest, offers a mean s of maintaining viable old-growth ecosystems.

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