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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Wild horse (Equus caballus) and burro (E. asinus; WHB) stakeholders in the American West are divergent in their views of free-roaming equids on public lands. Management authority for free-roaming equids on designated public lands was given to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) in 1971 by U.S. Congress with the passing of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (WFRHBA). In 1976, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) mandated the BLM to manage public lands for multiple-uses, which included livestock grazing, energy development, recreation, and timber harvest. Since the passage of WFRHBA and FLPMA, almost every WHB management option has been met with frustration and contention by some faction of stakeholders. Currently, WHB populations on designated public lands exceed numbers the BLM and USFS determined were in balance with other multiple-uses. Historically, true collaboration around the issue has been lacking apart from the banding together of like-minded organizations. As climate change exacerbates resource impacts on Western public landscapes, leaving already arid lands drier and forage amounts and diversity lessened, the need for true collaboration among divergent stakeholders is abundantly clear. However, how to collaborate sustainably and healthily is unclear. In this paper, we outline a framework, specifically with the BLM in mind, for achieving collaboration with diverse stakeholders and decision-makers.