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This paper gives an account of the development of fauna conservation as a positive requirement of forest management in the State Forests of New South Wales from the 1970s to the present time. Wildlife management was not part of the forestry curriculum in the 1950s and it was assumed that if the botanical composition of the forest was maintained then the fauna would also be conserved. As the intensity of forest operations increased, particularly with respect to woodchip operations and the establishment of large areas of pine plantation, serious environmental questions began to be raised. The general absence of knowledge about forest fauna and their habitat requirements led to the appointment of a Forestry Commission wildlife ecologist in 1975 and a dramatic increase in research in collaboration with the Australian Museum, National Parks and Wildlife Service, CSIRO and the universities. There has been a steady accumulation of knowledge to the present time and some of the difficulties in the implementation of this information are discussed. The increase in knowledge has led to a variety of interpretations some of which seem to be based more on values than science. During this period, there were many conflicts over forest practices which obscured the great progress that had been made. There have been recent developments with government inquiries and political innovations resulting in the National Forest Policy Statement, the development of Regional Forest Agreements, and new forest legislation, including the regulation of forestry on private lands. With the Comprehensive, Representative and Adequate reserve system now in place, and sophisticated fauna protocols in use in forest operations, we can be optimistic about the conservation of the forest fauna providing long-term research and monitoring are continued. However, the pendulum may have swung too far and questions about regeneration techniques, fire exclusion policies and the viability of the native forest timber industry are also raised.

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