Field ecologist Erick Lundgren is fronting a webinar about his work with wild horses in Australia and beyond.
In the webinar hosted by the Brumby Action Group, Lundgren will address the topics of equid/wild horses reducing fuel loads in areas prone to wildfires and the capacity for these wild equids to find water in arid zones for the benefit of other species.
Lundgren’s most recent study, titled Equids engineer desert water availability, noted that large animals play important roles in the biosphere, yet little is known about how they shape dryland ecosystems. In the deserts of North America, the digging of wells of up to 2 meters to groundwater by wild horses and donkeys increased the density of water features, reduced distances between water sources, and, at times, provided the only water present.
Lundgren and his colleagues surveyed several sites in the Sonoran Desert of North America, and observed well-digging by the region’s wild horses and donkeys. They found evidence of the benefits they provided to several native desert species.
Abandoned wells also occasionally became nurseries for important tree species, they noted.
Lundgren is currently a PhD student at the University of Technology Sydney’s Centre for Compassionate Conservation, studying the ecology of novel communities, particularly of introduced megafauna. He completed his Masters at Arizona State University in 2017.
» Register for the webinar, on September 16 at 6pm (AEST).