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This study investigated the forest history, structural characteristics, the presence of fungal species suggested to indicate ecological continuity in old-growth forest, and the species composition of saproxylic beetles in 30 old forest ''woodland key habitats'' (WKHs), and compared them with production forest in the same age-class in south-eastern Norway. No statistically significant differences in forest characteristics, community of saproxylic beetles or number of red-listed beetles were found between the WKHs and the production forest, probably owing to a combination of profound long-term logging and a lack of will to delineate sufficiently large WKHs in the one area with significantly less forestry impact. The study indicates the advantage of including forest history information in WKH selection where such data exist, and the importance of restoring habitats in heavily exploited forest landscapes.