Large areas of montane ash forests have been logged for the production of pulp and timber, which also decreases the available Leadbeater's possum habitat.
In contrast, a burnt forest that is not salvage logged will develop a complex structure composed of young regenerating trees plus living and/ or dead trees remaining from the previous stand--ideal habitat for species such as Leadbeater's possum.
Therefore, the island-retention method of logging is more likely to retain suitable habitat for a number of key species in montane ash forest, including Leadbeater's possum.
The lead author of Forest Phoenix, Professor David Lindenmayer, has a long history of studying the wet montane forests of Victoria's Central Highlands, which began with field studies of Leadbeater's possum 27 years ago.
And while he holds out some hope for the future of Leadbeater's possum, much will depend on the timing and intensity of the next fire, and whether the recovering areas are disturbed by logging.
Missing, believed extinct for six decades, Leadbeater's possum was rediscovered in 1961 near Marysville, in young mountain ash forest regenerating after the Black Friday bushfires of 1939.
In a parallel to the Leadbeater's possum story, the common ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) is prospering in the radically altered environment around Tumut.
They shouldn't be concerned about how it looks today, because we're trying to create a complex- multi-aged forest that will provide optimum habitat for Leadbeater's possum and other wildlife in 20 years time.