In most wild horse areas, AMLs are small relative to the available resources because most of them have been assigned to privately owned livestock.
Permitted grazing does not occur at Little Bookcliffs WHR in Colorado, one of four such areas managed by the BLM.
Does the AML reflect full utilization of the available forage?
The 150 horses allowed by plan require 1,800 AUMs per year. The WHR covers 36,113 acres and the stocking rate allowed by plan is 4.2 wild horses per thousand acres.
The average rate across all HMAs is one wild horse per thousand acres.
The land must be able to produce at least 49.8 AUMs per year per thousand acres to support the Little Bookcliffs horses.
The Western Watersheds map shows six allotments adjacent to the WHR.
Forage production across the six allotments averages 61.7 AUMs per year per thousand acres, enough to support five wild horses per thousand acres.
The target rate at Little Bookcliffs is close, so the AML probably represents most of the forage in the WHR, with a small amount reserved for wildlife.
Two years ago the Pine Gulch Fire came within a mile of the north end of the WHR.
Almost certainly much of forage in Corcoran Wash was lost, yet it ranks #1 in terms of forage density. That resource would support ten wild horses per thousand acres.