Yesterday’s post about forage supply and demand suggests that HMAs subject to permitted livestock grazing (which is most of them) can support five times more wild horses than currently allowed by plan.
For example, the Jackson Mountains HMA, considered on these pages a few days ago, has an AML of 217. The number of horses the area can support is 217 × 5 = 1,085.
That’s a lot easier than digging through the environmental assessment and computing a new AML, which turned out to be 1,063. But it’s pretty darn close.
So if you can’t find the AUM data, there’s your rule of thumb.
It’s not ironclad, just an estimate.
The HMAs should be able to support 135,000 wild horses, not 27,000, and the current population of 90,000 is well within the carrying capacity of the land—if it wasn’t for privately owned livestock.
The problem is not overpopulation, it is public-lands ranching.