Livestock grazing represents one layer of forage demand on America’s public lands, followed by wild horses and wildlife.
To estimate the carrying capacity of an HMA or WHT, you have to determine the forage assigned to livestock and the number of wild horses displaced thereby.
The Socorro Field Office recently posted a Draft CX for the renewal of five grazing permits in western New Mexico.
Comments can be submitted at the project site through March 12.
Table 1 in the CX provides livestock types, grazing seasons and active AUMs.
The Allotment Master Report at RAS is not working so the management status and public acres were sourced from the Allotment Information Report.
The allotments are not contiguous and don’t overlap any HMAs, but you can still use the data for practice.
The weighted average forage density is 182.5 AUMs per year per thousand public acres, enough to support 182.5 ÷ 12 = 15.2 wild horses per thousand public acres, or 30.4 wild burros per thousand public acres.
Public lands in the western U.S. can only support one such animal per thousand acres according to the BLM (27,000 animals on 27 million acres).
The forage assigned to livestock would support an additional 6,172 ÷ 12 = 514 wild horses.
If the allotments coincided with an HMA that has an AML of 60, the True AML would be 574.
If the current herd was at 4X AML, there would be no excess horses in the HMA but the advocates would try to beat the population down with their favorite pesticide, because they want the ranchers to succeed, not the horses.
RELATED: AMLs and Carrying Capacities.