NSW's environmental watchdog has backed away from new logging rules after experts warned they would fast track the greater glider's extinction.
New rules announced last week ditched a requirement for the Forestry Corporation to search for and protect the endangered animal's den trees, with a 50-metre buffer of bush around each one.
Instead, the plan was to increase the number of hollow-bearing, or potentially hollow-bearing, trees that must be retained when state forests are logged.
But logging could occur right up to the base of each one, leaving them isolated in patches of harvested forest.
Leading greater glider experts immediately condemned the move, and said they weren't consulted on changes that would be very dangerous for an already imperilled species.
The Environment Protection Authority has now hit pause on the changes, saying it will take time to seek the advice of those experts.
"Existing requirements (requiring den tree searches) remain in force during this period and we will not hesitate to take regulatory action, including stop work orders, where we think there will be non-compliance," the EPA said in a statement on Friday.
Wilderness Australia glider ecologist Andrew Wong said the watchdog's rethink was welcome but the decision not to engage with leading experts in the first place was baffling.
He said he was expecting a very different outcome after the EPA's concession it had got things wrong.
"If it wasn't going to be very different they wouldn't be going through this process, it'd be pointless."
Australian National University Professor David Lindenmayer has studied greater gliders for more than 40 years, and says he's been promised time with the EPA next week.
But he can't fathom why leading expert opinions weren't sought before the changes were announced.
"Let's stop haemorrhaging money, and biodiversity and environmental outcomes, propping up an industry that is completely broken, loses money, hardly employs anybody and is generating woodchips," he told AAP.
"We're getting down to the last most important bits of the forest that haven't been fried by fires."
He said other states had ended logging in native forests and it was time for NSW to do the same.
WWF-Australia's forests expert Stuart Blanch is among those the EPA reached out to after announcing the changes last week.
"The EPA listened to our experts and realised they had not consulted. This is a good sign. They need den tree surveys. And they need 50-metre buffers around hollow-bearing trees," Dr Blanch said.
"WWF will not give up until we've got strong protections for greater gliders."
The greater glider became an endangered species under federal and NSW laws in 2022, after the Black Summer bushfires wiped out over a third of its habitat.
AAP has sought comment from the state-owned Forestry Corporation, which has recently been subjected to stop-work orders in two state forests over alleged failings in relation to glider habitat.
Australian Associated Press