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Resource Documents: Wildlife (278 items)

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Also see NWW "wildlife" FAQ

Unless indicated otherwise, documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are shared here to assist anyone wishing to research the issue of industrial wind power and the impacts of its development. The information should be evaluated by each reader to come to their own conclusions about the many areas of debate. • The copyrights reside with the sources indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations.


Date added:  September 8, 2020
WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Assessing the effect of wind farms in fauna with a mathematical model

Author:  Refoyo Román, Pablo; Olmedo Salinas, Cristina; and Muñoz Araújo, Benito

[Abstract]
Energy production by wind turbines has many advantages. The wind is a renewable energy that does not emit greenhouse gases and has caused a considerable increase in wind farms around the world. However, this type of energy is not completely free of impact. In particular, wind turbines displace and kill a wide variety of wild species what forces us to plan their location well. In any case, the determination of the effects of wind farms on fauna, especially the flying one, is difficult to determine and depends on several factors. In this work, we will try to establish a mathematical algorithm that allows us to combine all variables that affect the species with the idea of quantifying the effect that can be caused by the installation of a wind farm with certain characteristics in a given place. We have considered specific parameters of wind farms, the most relevant environmental characteristics related to the location of the wind farm, and morphological, ethological, and legal characteristics in the species. Two types of assessment are established for the definitive valuation: Total Assessment and Weighted Assessment. Total Valuation is established based on a reference scale that will allow us to establish categories of affection for the different species while Weighted Valuation allows us to establish which species are most affected.

Figure 1. Factors influencing mortality of species by wind farms. The potential negative effects of wind farms depend not only on the characteristics of them (design and spatial distribution of the turbines) but also on the orography of the land, the present species (abundance of the species and also of their prey, their behaviour and their flight characteristics and socioeconomic, demographic aspects (Wing Goodale and Stenhouse).

Figure 2. Relationships of variables affecting species mortality. It is necessary to consider the possible relationships between the different variables. Probably, the potential effects of the described wind farms could increase their effects or be mutually exclusive (Marques et al.).

Pablo Refoyo Román, Cristina Olmedo Salinas, and Benito Muñoz Araújo
Biodiversity, Ecology & Evolution Department, Biological Sciences Faculty, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain

Scientific Reports (2020) 10:14785

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Date added:  August 23, 2020
Switzerland, WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Bird collisions at wind turbines in a mountainous area related to bird movement intensities measured by radar

Author:  Aschwanden, Janine; et al.

Abstract

Bird collisions at wind turbines are perceived to be an important conservation issue. To determine mitigation actions such as temporary shutdown of wind turbines when bird movement intensities are high, knowledge of the relationship between the number of birds crossing an area and the number of collisions is essential. Our aim was to combine radar data on bird movement intensities with collision data from a systematic carcass search.

We used a dedicated bird radar, located near a wind farm in a mountainous area, to continuously record bird movement intensities from February to mid-November 2015. In addition, we searched the ground below three wind turbines (Enercon E-82) for carcasses on 85 dates and considered three established correction factors to extrapolate the number of collisions.

The extrapolated number of collisions was 20.7 birds/wind turbine (CI-95%: 14.3–29.6) for 8.5 months. Nocturnally migrating passerines, especially kinglets (Regulus spp.), represented 55% of the fatalities. 2.1% of the birds theoretically exposed to a collision (measured by radar at the height of the wind turbines) were effectively colliding.

Collisions mainly occurred during migration and affected primarily nocturnal migrants. It was not possible to assign the fatalities doubtlessly to events with strong migration. Fresh-looking carcasses were found after nights with both strong and weak bird movement intensities, indicating fatalities are not restricted to mass movement events (onshore). Rather, it is likely that an important factor influencing collision risk is limited visibility due to weather conditions. Local and regional visibility should be considered in future studies and when fine-tuning shutdown systems for wind turbines.

Janine Aschwanden, Herbert Stark, Dieter Peter, Thomas Steuri, Baptiste Schmid, Felix Liechti
Swiss Ornithological Institute, Switzerland

Biological Conservation
Volume 220, April 2018, Pages 228-236
doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2018.01.005

Bird collisions at wind turbines in a mountainous area related to bird movement intensities measured by radar

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Date added:  July 28, 2020
South Africa, WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

On a collision course? The large diversity of birds killed by wind turbines in South Africa

Author:  Perold, V.; Ralston-Paton, S.; and Ryan, P.

[Abstract] Wind energy is a clean, renewable alternative to fossil fuel-derived energy sources, but many birds are at risk from collisions with wind turbines. We summarise the diversity of birds killed by turbine collisions at 20 wind energy facilities (WEFs) across southwest South Africa. Monitoring from 2014 to 2018 recovered 848 bird carcasses across all WEFs, at a crude rate of 1.0 ± 0.6 birds turbine−1 y−1 at 16 WEFs with at least 12 months of postconstruction monitoring. However, mortality estimates adjusted for detection and scavenger bias were appreciably higher: 4.6 ± 2.9 birds turbine−1 y−1 or 2.0 ± 1.3 birds MW−1 y−1 (n = 14 WEFs with site-specific bias correction factors), which is slightly lower than mean rates reported in the northern hemisphere, but still well within range. A striking result was the high diversity of birds killed: 130 species from 46 families, totalling 30% of bird species recorded at and around WEFs, including some species not recorded by specialist surveys at WEF sites (e.g. flufftails Sarothruridae). Species accumulation models suggest that 184 (±22) species will be killed at these facilities, some 42% of species found in the vicinity of WEFs. This is despite the smaller number of migrants in the study region, compared with the north temperate zone. Diurnal raptors were killed most often (36% of carcasses, 23 species) followed by passerines (30%, 49 species), waterbirds (11%, 24 species), swifts (9%, six species), large terrestrial birds (5%, 10 species), pigeons (4%, six species) and other near passerines (1%, seven species). Species of conservation concern killed include endangered Cape Vultures Gyps coprotheres and Black Harriers Circus maurus, both of which are endemic to southern Africa. Every effort must be made to site wind energy facilities away from important areas for birds, particularly raptors.

V. Perold and P. Ryan, FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
S. Ralston-Paton, BirdLife South Africa, Pinegowrie, South Africa

Ostrich 2020: 1–12. doi: 10.2989/00306525.2020.1770889

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Date added:  July 15, 2020
Netherlands, WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Mortality limits used in wind energy impact assessment underestimate impacts of wind farms on bird populations

Author:  Schippers, Peter; et al.

Abstract—
1. The consequences of bird mortality caused by collisions with wind turbines are increasingly receiving attention. So‐called acceptable mortality limits of populations, that is, those that assume that 1%–5% of additional mortality and the potential biological removal (PBR), provide seemingly clear‐cut methods for establishing the reduction in population viability. 2. We examine how the application of these commonly used mortality limits could affect populations of the Common Starling, Black‐tailed Godwit, Marsh Harrier, Eurasian Spoonbill, White Stork, Common Tern, and White‐tailed Eagle using stochastic density‐independent and density‐dependent Leslie matrix models. 3. Results show that population viability can be very sensitive to proportionally small increases in mortality. Rather than having a negligible effect, we found that a 1% additional mortality in postfledging cohorts of our studied populations resulted in a 2%–24% decrease in the population level after 10 years. Allowing a 5% mortality increase to existing mortality resulted in a 9%–77% reduction in the populations after 10 years.

Peter Schippers, Ralph Buij, Alex Schotman, Jana Verboom, Henk van der Jeugd, Eelke Jongejans
Wageningen Environmental Research, Wageningen University & Research; Environmental Systems Analysis, Wageningen University; Vogeltrekstation – Dutch Centre for Avian Migration and Demography, Wageningen; Animal Ecology and Physiology, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Ecology and Evolution. Published on line 04 June 2020. doi: 10.1002/ece3.6360

Download original document: “Mortality limits used in wind energy impact assessment underestimate impacts of wind farms on bird populations

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