Impacts of Wild Horses, Cattle, and Wildlife on Riparian Areas in Idaho
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CitationKaweck, M. M., Severson, J. P., & Launchbaugh, K. L. (2018). Impacts of Wild Horses, Cattle, and Wildlife on Riparian Areas in Idaho. Rangelands, 40(2), 45-52.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
AbstractOur study confirms that grazing by cattle and horses can negatively impact riparian ecosystems if not properly managed. Population levels and grazing patterns of wild free-roaming horses limit management options, potentially leading to rangeland and riparian degradation. Grazing by wild free-roaming horses and cattle in riparian areas caused streambank disturbance and reductions in stubble height and herbaceous biomass. Both wild free-roaming horses and cattle affected riparian attributes while wildlife had little effect. Horses had a greater negative impact than did cattle when examined on an individual animal basis. Managers and ranchers in areas with wild free-roaming horses will need to consider potential impacts of unmanaged wild free-roaming horses in combination with livestock to mitigate the cumulative effects of multiple species of grazers on riparian condition.