Many terms often used to describe old-growth forests imply that these forests are less vigorous, less productive and less stable than younger forests. But research in the last two decades has yielded results that challenge the view of old-growth forests being in decline. Given the importance of forests in battling climate change and the fact that old-growth forests are shrinking at a rate of 0.5% per year, these new results have come not a moment too soon.This book is the first ever to focus on the ecosystem functioning of old-growth forests. It is an exhaustive compendium of information that contains original work conducted by the authors. In addition, it is truly global in scope as it studies boreal forests in Canada, temperate old-growth forests in Europe and the Americas, and global tropical forests. Written in part to affect future policy, this eminently readable book is as useful for the scientist and student as it is for the politician and politically-interested layman.