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Johann Matthäus Bechstein (July 11, 1757 - February 23, 1822) was a German naturalist, forester, and ornithologist.

Bechstein was born in Waltershausen in the district of Gotha in Thuringia. He later became the director of the forestry school at Meiningen in the neighbouring district of Schmalkalden-Meiningen. After the death of his own son, he adopted his nephew Ludwig Bechstein.

Bechstein was a prolific zoologist and one of the first concerned with wildlife conservation: besides his ornithological work, he also published works calling for the protection of animals that were commonly considered harmful or pests at the time, such as bats.

Bechstein's publications included Gemeinnützige Naturgeschichte Deutschlands (1789-95), Johann Lathams Allgemeine Übersicht der Vögel (1791-1812), Kurzgefasste gemeinnützige Naturgeschichte (1792-97) and Ornithologisches Taschenbuch (1802-03).

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