Critical gaps in Australian Wild Horse studies

“We agree with Linklater et al. (2002) that the peer-review process is the best mechanism for illuminating the quality of research to the public, by exposing it to criticism from an independent and international audience. In the case of feral horse management, to our knowledge, this standard is yet to be achieved in Australia for both ecological and human dimensions research.” – Nimmo 2007

“In conclusion, there remain several critical gaps in our understanding of the ecological effects of feral horses on native environments, particularly with regard to Australian ecosystems.”- Nimmo 2007

Linklater, et al. (2000 p149) cites Rogers (1991) which shows that positioning of horse exclosures can result in impact measurements unrepresentative of the broader system.

“Most research on the ecological effects of feral horses has occurred at single, small, spatial scales” – (Beever, et al. 2003)

 “Further confounding results is the fact that past research into the effects of feral horses have typically included only a small number of response variables (Beever et al. 2003), usually measuring direct effects of disturbance on a few plant characteristics, ignoring both direct effects on other taxa (Beever and Brussard 2004) and indirect effects occurring concurrently and subsequently from the formation of feedback loops” – Beever and Herrick (2006).


Beever, Erik, 2003, Management Implications of the Ecology of Free-Roaming Horses in Semi-Arid Ecosystems of the Western United States, Wildlife Society Bulletin (1973-2006) Vol. 31, No. 3 (Autumn, 2003), pp. 887-895 (9 pages)

Beever, E.A. and Herrick, J.E. , 2006, Effects of feral horses in Great Basin landscapes on soils and ants: Direct and indirect mechanisms, Journal of Arid Environments Volume 66, Issue 1, July 2006, Pages 96-112

Linkletter, Wayne L., et al.,2000, Social and spatial structure and range use by Kaimanawa wild horses (Equus caballus: Equidae), New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2000) 24(2): 139-152

Nimmo, Dale Graeme and Miller, Kelly K., 2007, Ecological and human dimensions of management of feral horses in Australia: a review, Wildlife Research, 2007, 34, 408–417, CSIRO Publishing

Rogers, G.M., 1991, Kaimanawa Feral Horses and their Environmental Impacts, New Zealand Journal of Ecology (1991) 15(1): 49-64

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