This document reviews current science on Leadbeater’s Possum and its montane ash forest habitat in the Central Highlands of Victoria.

The report comprises seven chapters on key topics related to the conservation and current management of Leadbeater’s Possum and the forest habitats on which the species depends.

We examine the threats to Leadbeater’s Possum as well as critically appraise the effectiveness of management actions and protective measures designed to conserve the species. We examine the Critically Endangered listing of both Leadbeater’s Possum and the Mountain Ash ecosystem in which it lives, and why both are in a parlous state. The review looks back over the history of decisions and other factors that have led us to the current situation, and explores possible futures based on decisions currently being made.

Our review relies heavily on the substantial scientific literature on Leadbeater’s Possum and Mountain Ash forest. Long term data and scientifically robust research will play an important role in rigorously assessing many current claims about the status of populations of Leadbeater’s Possum and its habitat and providing clarity on information to guide enhanced decision making.

The area of remaining 1939 age forest in the Central Highlands is reaching low levels, and important decisions need to be made about how the forests of this age are managed. The next 5-10 years will be critical for how the Central Highlands ash forests and the species that inhabit them persist (or otherwise) over the next century.

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