TOP 12 BENEFITS OF "WILD HORSE FIRE BRIGADE"
1. Saving Wild Horses:
Wild Horse Fire Brigade provides sustainable cost-effective natural conservation of native species American wild horses by rewilding-relocating them into designated wilderness areas that are economically and ecologically appropriate, which have abundant forage and water, where wild horses are restored to their evolutionary roles as north American keystone herbivores. In such areas, wild horses are no longer commingled with livestock, which eliminates the political and economic pressures that are currently being applied to native species American wild horses.
More here: Economics vs. Wild Horses
2. Rewilding Benefits:
Rewilding American wild horses from ‘Herd Areas’ and ‘Herd Management Areas’ where they are currently mismanaged via being commingled with livestock, and relocating wild horses into designated wilderness areas that are both ecologically and economically appropriate, is a genetic benefit for wild horses.
Over the past centuries, many herd areas have been managed specifically for livestock production and have by design been made virtually devoid of apex predators, making such areas ecologically unsuited for wild horses.
Wild horses (E. Caballus) evolved in North America 1.7-million years ago, and are a prey species that require co-habitation with their co-evolved predators. Apex predators engage in the process of Natural Selection that preserves the genetic vigor of wild horses. The predators of wild horses (bears, mountain lions, wolves and coyotes) take the weak, sick and elderly animals, which preserves the overall genetic health and vigor of wild horse herds, while also managing populations to nominal levels, thereby negating the great expense of the ill-conceived notion that contraceptives should be used on American wild horses.
The use of any form of contraception (chemicals to sterilize mares or castration of stallions) is by definition ‘selective breeding’ and leads to genetic erosion. Such actions are currently being used as a misguided work-around due to the lack of apex predators, and interferes with the critically important processes related to the behavioral ecology of wild horses. Stallions must be allowed to compete for breeding rights to mares, and a mare’s hierarchy in a family band is partly determined by her sexual status and ability to procreate, which stallions and other mares can sense.
More here: Selective Breeding of Wild Horses Accelerating Genetic Erosion
Finally, the relocation (rewilding) of wild horses from herd areas frees-up more grazing for livestock in areas that are virtually devoid of apex predators. The combination of the foregoing is a win-win for the wild horses and the livestock interests, and ends the longstanding and very costly range war.
More about the range war: ‘Wild Horse Wars’.
3. Massive Savings for Taxpayers:
Putting wild horses back into the wilderness where they belong immediately saves American taxpayers over $150-million in annual costs related to the Bureau of Land Management's and the United States Forest Service's inhumane, wasteful and unreasonable management, helicopter roundups, and off-range holding and feeding (warehousing) of American wild horses.
4. Wildfire Fuels Reduction and Maintenance:
Wild horses deployed into designated wilderness areas, where motorized vehicles and equipment and prescribed burns are generally prohibited by law, naturally reduce and maintain hot-burning grass and brush fuels to nominal levels. Thus, according to the leading science today, this action reduces both the frequency and intensity of wildfire.
More here: ‘Wildfires and Wild Horses’.
Grass and brush fuels reduced and maintained by wild horses also reduces the potential adverse effects of overheating soils and thereby, destroying the microbiome, to name just one adverse effect.
More here: Low-severity wildfires impact soils more than previously believed - Negative effects of low-severity fire on soil structure and organic matter.
Given the horrific costs in human life, adverse health impacts and climate impact from billions of tons of toxic smoke, loss of homes in the thousands annually, and the insured and uninsured losses, which are in the $-billions annually, even a small reduction in wildfire results in additional savings in the realm of hundreds of $-millions annually.
5. Natural Reseeding of Native Plants:
Unlike invasive species ungulates (cattle & sheep), wild horses have a simple digestive system that scientific studies show, do not digest the majority of the native plant and grass seeds that wild horses consume. Therefore, even as wild horses are reducing wildfire fuels via grazing, wild horses concurrently reseed the landscape via the intact seeds that are deposited back onto the landscape and able to germinate in their droppings.
More here: Horse dung germinable seed content in relation to plant species abundance, diet composition and seed characteristics.
6. Forests Benefited:
Wild horses have co-evolved using trees as shelters during all seasons. This symbiotic relationship benefits the horse with shelter and benefits trees because horses graze the grass and brush fuels under the trees they use as shelters, break-off low limbs (aka: fire ladders) and fertilize trees with their droppings, all of which make trees more fire resilient. More at GrazeLIFE.
Wild horses are American icons and treasured by over 100-million Americans. This love of American wild horses drives ecotourism in areas that have free-roaming wild horse herds, which helps bring revenues and jobs into such areas. More here.
8. Sequestering Carbon:
Wild horses that graze grass and brush fuels are sequestering carbon compounds back into soils in their dung, which also incorporates the seeds of native plants, humus and microbiome, all of which restore and enrich soils, including fire-damaged soils. More here.
9. Reduces Need for Prescribed Burning:
Wild horses naturally grazing reduces the need for excessive prescribed burning of grass and brush, which sends millions of tons of carbon compounds into the atmosphere, accelerating climate change and ocean acidification. This also reduces the amount of toxins that impact air quality creating serious health issues.
More here: Intelligent Forest And Wildland Management Reduces Catastrophic Wildfire.
10. Soil Disturbance:
Wild horses evolved in North America 1.7-million years ago and are a co-evolved species to other North American flora and fauna. Even their hoof design is unique, which results in low-impact on soils. The body-weight of a horse, when calculated over the surface area of their hooves, yields a significantly lower ground-loading and compaction (in pounds per square inch; PSI) as opposed to cattle. Cattle have less hoof surface area in proportion to their body weight, which causes significant disruption of soils, which is bad for wilderness ecosystems. Therefore, the best species of herbivore for wildfire-grazing in ecologically sensitive designated wilderness areas is without doubt the wild horse.
11. Erosion, Flora, Fauna and Fisheries:
Wild horses naturally maintain native species cover crops, which are important to the survival of co-evolved dependent fauna. Science shows that maintaining cover crops also helps to prevent soil erosion. The opposite is true when fire (prescribed or natural) strips-off a cover crop resulting in high levels of erosion and loss of water infiltration into aquifers. Post-wildfire erosion in late fall and early winter causes abnormal erosion of clay and silt sediments that damage the spawning grounds and cover fish eggs, which adversely impacts native species fisheries. Excess sediment can profoundly effect the productivity of a salmon or trout stream (Cordone and Kelly, 1961)
More here: Excess Sediment.
12. Reestablishing Deer and Elk Populations:
Published peer-reviewed science shows that wild horses and deer are ‘commensal’, which means they don’t take forage from each-other. In fact, the grazing overlap between deer and wild horses is only 1%. While cattle and deer have a 4% grazing overlap.
The rewilding (and relocating) of wild horses into designated wilderness areas where deer and elk are currently suffering from collapsed populations, provides additional natural prey for apex predators (part of Natural Selection), which takes some of the depredation pressures off deer and elk, thereby rebalancing ecosystems.