Forest types defined for forest-management purposes are being used in reserve selection and to assess logging impacts on flora and fauna. We investigate whether these forest types are adequate surrogates for vascular plant, bryophyte and lichen species diversity. The data were collected in 35 0.1-ha areas distributed throughout the Morisset Forestry District, north of Sydney, New South Wales. We use analysis of variance and analysis of similarities (ANOSIM) to show that vascular plant, bryophyte and lichen species richness and composition all varied significantly between forest types. Greater differences in species were obtained by using the more refined seven-forest type classification used for management purposes, compared to the five-forest type classification used for environmental impact assessment. Greatest differences were found between the drier, more exposed forest types and the moist, relatively protected forest types of the lower slopes and riparian areas. Highly significant differences in species composition were found for all groups; however, there was still considerable variation not accounted for. Therefore, the validity of the assumption that sites might respond similarly to disturbance must be further investigated. For reserve selection, it is suggested that two of the drier forest types are interchangeable when considering areas to be reserved.