How Many Wild Horses Can the Cedar Mountain HMA Support?

The forage assigned to livestock inside the allotments is known but the forage assigned to livestock inside the HMA is not known.

The preliminary EA is still months away, as noted yesterday, so how do you answer the question?

The management plan assigns 26,337 AUMs per year to livestock across four allotments covering 398,222 public acres, as computed in the post, or 66.1 AUMs per thousand acres per year.

That resource would support 66.1 ÷ 12 = 5.5 wild horses per thousand acres, on top of the 0.9 wild horses per thousand acres allowed by plan.

The total authorized forage inside the HMA, neglecting wildlife, should be able to support 0.9 + 5.5 = 6.4 wild horses per thousand acres, assuming the resource is evenly distributed across the parcels.

The HMA covers 411,636 acres, which may include some non-BLM lands, but a quick estimate of the True AML, the number of animals the HMA could support if it was managed principally for wild horses, is 6.4 × 411,636 ÷ 1,000 = 2,634.

The number horses displaced from the HMA by privately owned livestock is 5.5 × 411,636 ÷ 1,000 = 2,264, about 4.5% of those in off-range holding.

The difference between the two figures, 2,634 – 2,264 = 370 is slightly less than the current AML of 390 due to rounding errors.

In general,

True AML = Current AML + Horses displaced by permitted grazing

RELATED: Cedar Mountain Allotments.

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