Wild Equine Research

Australian research

Australian literature generally concludes that Brumbies cause damage to the environment but these studies are based on correlative data and weak inferences that actually contain evidence supporting the belief that horses can have positive environmental impact

This positive ecological impact is rarely if ever acknowledged because of the strong belief of Australian environmentalists; that since horses are introduced, heavy hard hoofed animals they must only cause damage in Australia.

Indoctrination that Brumbies are bad

Davis, et al. (2011) argue with regard to this issue that it is “impractical to try to restore ecosystems to some ‘rightful’ historical state … it is time for conservationists to focus much more on the functions of species, and much less on where they originated”. Continue reading

ABA Sponsored Research

ABA strongly believes it is vital to the environment, the taxpayer and the Brumbies that Government policy and decisions are based on balanced, methodical and rigorous investigation. We are therefore contributing funding to a research project on Alpine Brumbies conducted by the University of Southern Queensland. Continue reading

Community Perception Surveys of Wild Horse Values

In 2019 ABA commissioned a survey of public perceptions of Victorian alpine area Brumbies. The results were generally congruent with ABA goals and core values of retaining sustainably managed populations of wild horses. Continue reading

What They Don’t Tell You About Wild Horses in the Environment  

The Kill and Kill again approach

The concept that we have to kill introduced flora and fauna to allow the “natural/native” landscape to return is not considered feasible or realistic by overseas research. Continue reading

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….- Nimmo 2007 Continue reading

Examples of Australian Wild Horse Study Flaws and Misrepresentation

It is inconceivable that an organisation claiming to rely on evidence based science can claim horses must go despite decades of research saying that unless flood regimes are corrected, Moira grasses will shortly disappear (irrespective of horses grazing or not). Continue reading

Positive impacts from horse grazing are ignored

….avian richness and diversity were higher in areas subject to moderate levels of grazing than areas in which horses had been excluded (Zalba and Cozzani 2004). Continue reading

Wild Equine Research Around the World


Austrheim, Gunnar and Eriksson, Ove, 2001, Plant species diversity and grazing in the Scandinavian mountains – patterns and processes at different spatial scales, Ecography 24: 683-695, Copenhagen 2001

Beavis, Sara, 2002, Horse Riding in Kosciuszko National Park, A report to Snowy Mountains Horse Riders Association, Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, Australian National University, Canberra

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

Colloff, Matthew J., et al., 2013, Ecology and conservation of grassy wetlands dominated by spiny mud grass Pseudoraphis spinescens in the southern Murray–Darling Basin, Australia, Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst. 24: 238–255 (2014) Published online 13 September 2013 in Wiley Online Library

Connell, Joseph H., 1978, Diversity in Tropical Rain Forests and coral Reefs, Science, New Series, Vol. 199, No. 4335 (Mar. 24, 1978), pp. 1302-1310 (9 pages),  American Association for the Advancement of Science

Davies, KW, Boyd, CS, Bates, JD and Hulet, A 2015, ‘Dormant season grazing may decrease wildfire probability by increasing fuel moisture and reducing fuel amount and continuity’, International Journal of Wildland Fire 24: 849–856.

Davis, et al. (2011), Don’t judge species on their origins, 9 June 2011, Vol 474, Naturue, pp 153-154

Dobbie et. al., 1993, Managing Vertebrate Pests: Feral Horses, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra

Fahnestock, J.T., Detling, J.K. The influence of herbivory on plant cover and species composition in the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, USA. Plant Ecology 144, 145–157 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1009899509067

Fahnestock, Jace T., and Detling, James, 2002, Bison Prairie Dog Plant Interactions in North American Mixed-grass Prairie, June 2002, Oecologia 132(1):86-95

Fortwangler, Crystal, 2013, Untangling Introduced and Invasive Animals, Environment and Society: Advances in Research 4 (2013): 41–59

Gilfedder, L., and Kirkpatrick, J.B., 1994, Climate, Grazing and Disturbance, and the Population Dynamics of Leucochrysum albicans at Ross, Tasmania, Australian Journal of Botany 42(4) 417 – 430

ITRG 2016, Final report of the Independent Technical Reference Group: Supplementary to the Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Management Plan, report by the Independent Technical Reference Group to the Office of Environment and Heritage NSW, Sydney.

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

Ostermann-Kelm, Stacey D. et al., 2009, Impacts of feral horses on a desert environment, BMC Ecology 2009, 9:22,  This article is available from: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6785/9/22

Pickering, Catherine, et al., 2001, Estimating human-mediated dispersl of seeds witin an Australian protected area, August 2011 Biological Invasions 13(8):1869-1880  DOI: 10.1007/s10530-011-0006-y

Quinn, Adda, 2004, Environmental Aspects of Horses on Trails, American Trails website, https://www.americantrails.org/resources/environmental-aspects-of-horses-on-trails

Redfearn, Sally-Anne, et al., 2011, Detecting stream health impacts of horse riding and 4WD vehicle water crossings in South East Queensland: and event based assessment, Griffiths University October 2011

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

Schultz, Nick L., et al., 2011, Effects of grazing exclusion on plant species richnessand phytomass accumulation vary across a regionalproductivity gradient, Journal of Vegetation Science22(2011) 130–142

Silvers, L 1993, ‘The effects of grazing on fuel loads and vegetation in the Barmah Forest’, Honours thesis, School of Environmental and Information Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Albury, NSW.

Snowy Scientific Committee, 2008, Adequacy of environmental releases to the Snowy River, Report No. 1 Prepared for the Water Ministerial Administration Corporation, October 2008, Canberra

Stroh, Peter A., et al., 2012, The potential for endozoochorous dispersal of temperate fen plant species by free-roaming horses, Applied Vegetation Science Vol. 15, No. 3 (August 2012), pp. 359-368

Verbrugge, Laura, 2016, Metaphors in Invasion Biology:  Implications for Risk Assessment and Management of Non-Native Species, September 2016 Ethics Policy & Environment 19(3):1-12

Williams, Richard, et al., 2014, Alpine ecosystems, in Biodiversity and Environmental Change (CSIRO Publishing, 2014)

Willig, M.R. , et al., 2018, Latitudinal Gradients of Biodiversity: Pattern, Process, Scale, and Synthesis, Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics Vol. 34:273-309 (Volume Publication date November 2003) First published online as a Review in Advance on July 11, 2003

Zalba, Sergio M., and Cozzani, Natalia C., 2004, The impact of feral horses on grassland bird communities in Argentina, Animal Conservation (2004)7, 35–44, The Zoological Society of London.

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