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*(NSW) National Parks and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 1967, Hurstville, NSW 2220.

The Pigfooted Bandicoot, discovered on the plains of the Murray in 1836, was scarce by 1857 when its demise was predicted because of the large flocks of sheep and herds of cattle that were occupying the country. In 1901 a Royal Commission reported on the economic plight of the pastoralists and recorded eyewitness accounts of the degradation of the western lands from drought, rabbits and erosion exacerbating the impact of overstocking with sheep. In 1983–84 a Joint Select Committee of the Parliament of New South Wales presented four reports detailing the problems and issues of the pastoral industry and the environment in the Western Division. In 1991 the Ecologically Sustainable working Group of the Commonwealth Government tabled its final report on Agriculture, drew attention to the major environmental issues and urged taking a longterm ecological view of land management. In 1992–93, CALM, the New South Wales government department with the responsibility for managing the Western Division, produced two reports concluding that the Western Division pastoral industry and the land resource supporting it were in crisis. Against the background of these official reviews, some contemporary writing by ecologists is reviewed and the primary themes of the book are foreshadowed. Central among these are the need for further research, including survey, of the fauna; the need for a representative reserve network and the necessity for a longterm goal of restoration. To conserve the fauna of western New South Wales it will be necessary to move fauna conservation to a key position in any research and management programme. The recovery of the fauna serves as an indicator of success in any restoration endeavours.

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