Resource Documents: Wildlife (268 items)
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Evidence of region-wide bat population decline from long-term monitoring and bayesian occupancy models with empirically informed priors
Author: Rodhouse, Thomas; et al.
Strategic conservation efforts for cryptic species, especially bats, are hindered by limited understanding of distribution and population trends. Integrating long‐term encounter surveys with multi‐season occupancy models provides a solution whereby inferences about changing occupancy probabilities and latent changes in abundance can be supported. When harnessed to a bayesian inferential paradigm, this modeling framework offers flexibility for conservation programs that need to update prior model‐based understanding about at‐risk species with new data. This scenario is exemplified by a bat monitoring program in the Pacific Northwestern United States in which results from 8 years of surveys from 2003 to 2010 require updating with new data from 2016 to 2018. The new data were collected after the arrival of bat white‐nose syndrome and expansion of wind power generation, stressors expected to cause population declines in at least two vulnerable species, little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) and the hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus). We used multi‐season occupancy models with empirically informed prior distributions drawn from previous occupancy results (2003–2010) to assess evidence of contemporary decline in these two species. Empirically informed priors provided the bridge across the two monitoring periods and increased precision of parameter posterior distributions, but did not alter inferences relative to use of vague priors. We found evidence of region‐wide summertime decline for the hoary bat (λ trend = 0.86 ± 0.10) since 2010, but no evidence of decline for the little brown bat (λ trend = 1.1 ± 0.10). White‐nose syndrome was documented in the region in 2016 and may not yet have caused regional impact to the little brown bat. However, our discovery of hoary bat decline is consistent with the hypothesis that the longer duration and greater geographic extent of the wind energy stressor (collision and barotrauma) have impacted the species. These hypotheses can be evaluated and updated over time within our framework of pre–post impact monitoring and modeling. Our approach provides the foundation for a strategic evidence‐based conservation system and contributes to a growing preponderance of evidence from multiple lines of inquiry that bat species are declining.
Thomas J. Rodhouse, National Park Service and Human and Ecosystem Resiliency and Sustainability Lab, Oregon State University—Cascades, Bend
Rogelio M. Rodriguez, Human and Ecosystem Resiliency and Sustainability Lab, Oregon State University—Cascades, Bend
Katharine M. Banner, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman
Patricia C. Ormsbee, Willamette National Forest, Springfield, Oregon
Jenny Barnett, Mid‐Columbia River National Wildlife Refuge Complex, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Burbank, Washington
Kathryn M. Irvine, Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Bozeman, Montana
Ecology and Evolution. 2019;00:1–11.
First published: 11 September 2019
Griffon vulture mortality at wind farms in southern Spain: Distribution of fatalities and active mitigation measures
Author: de Lucas, Manuela; et al.
Wind is increasingly being used as a renewable energy source around the world. Avian mortality is one of the negative impacts of wind energy and a new technique that reduces avian collision rates is necessary. Using the most frequently-killed species, the griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus), we studied its mortality at 13 wind farms in Tarifa, Cadiz, Spain, before (2006–2007) and after (2008–2009) when selective turbine stopping programs were implemented as a mitigation measure. Ten wind farms (total of 244 turbines) were selectively stopped and three wind farms (total of 52 turbines) were not. We found 221 dead griffon vultures during the entire study and the mortality rate was statistically different per turbine and year among wind farms. During 2006–2007, 135 griffon vultures were found dead and the spatial distribution of mortality was not uniformly distributed among turbines, with very few turbines showing the highest mortality rates. The 10 most dangerous turbines were distributed among six different wind farms. Most of the mortalities were concentrated in October and November matching the migratory period. During 2008–2009, we used a selective stopping program to stop turbines when vultures were observed near them and the griffon vulture mortality rate was reduced by 50% with a consequent reduction in total energy production of by the wind farms by only 0.07% per year. Our results indicate that the use of selective stopping techniques at turbines with the highest mortality rates can help to mitigate the impacts of wind farms on birds with a minimal affect on energy production.
► We studied griffon vulture mortality at 13 wind farms in Tarifa, before and after selective stopping program was implemented.
► 221 Dead vultures were found during the study and mortality rate was different per turbine and year among wind farms.
► During 2006–2007, 135 vultures dead and not uniformly distributed among turbines. Mortalities concentrated in October–November.
► During 2008–2009, program to stop turbines when vultures were observed near was applied. Mortality rate was reduced by 50%.
► Selective stopping turbines with the highest mortality rates can help to mitigate the impacts of wind farms on birds.
Manuela de Lucas, Miguel Ferrer, Department of Ethology and Biodiversity Conservation, Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC), Seville, Spain
Marc J.Bechard, Raptor Research Center, Department of Biological Sciences, Boise State University, Idaho, USA
Antonio R.Muñoz, Fundación Migres, Algeciras, Spain
Biological Conservation, Volume 147, Issue 1, March 2012, Pages 184-189
Download original document: “Griffon vulture mortality at wind farms in southern Spain: Distribution of fatalities and active mitigation measures”
Author: Martin, Graham; Portugal, Steven; and Murn, Campbell
The visual fields of vultures contain a small binocular region and large blind areas above, below and behind the head. Head positions typically adopted by foraging vultures suggest that these visual fields provide comprehensive visual coverage of the ground below, prohibit the eyes from imaging the sun and provide extensive visual coverage laterally. However, vultures will often be blind in the direction of travel. We conclude that by erecting structures such as wind turbines, which extend into open airspace, humans have provided a perceptual challenge that the vision of foraging vultures cannot overcome.
Graham R. Martin, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, U.K.
Steven J. Portugal, Structure and Motion Laboratory, The Royal Veterinary College, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, U.K.
Campbell P. Murn, Hawk Conservancy Trust, Sarson Lane, Weyhill, Andover, Hampshire, U.K.
Ibis: The International Journal of Avian Science
Volume 154, Issue 3, July 2012, Pages 626-631
Download original document: “Visual fields, foraging and collision vulnerability in Gyps vultures”
Author: Henderson, Peter; Krüger, Oliver; Richarz, Klaus; and Byrne, Paula
This publication focuses on a topic that has previously been a taboo for policymakers, but also for nature conservation organisations in Germany. The environmentally destructive effects of renewable energies has never been widely discussed – mainly because they are seen as reducing carbon dioxide emissions. … The German Wildlife Foundation is not generally against wind energy. We are not opposed to any technology. But we are opposed to the unbridled expansion of energy projects in natural environments and natural spaces, a process that is increasingly happening today, especially in Germany. … The papers in this publication show what threats nature and wildlife now face from this expansion.
—Fritz Vahrenholt, German Wildlife Foundation
The Global Warming Policy Foundation, an educational think tank based in London, does not have a position on wind energy or renewable energy. We neither oppose nor promote it. However, we are in favour of weighing up the pros and cons. Any form of energy production, whether conventional or renewable, has its costs and benefits, and many environmental problems come with every form of energy generation.
One of the big problems that confronts us today is that we live in an age where some of these issues are taboo; where particular topics cannot be openly discussed. Throughout history, whenever societies were faced with a lack of openness or censorship, grave mistakes have been inevitable. After all, you can only learn from mistakes if you are allowed to talk about problems openly. It is in this context that it is eminently important that the pros and cons of all forms of energy generation are openly addressed. Only by weighing up the pros and cons can politicians and the wider public get a better idea of what is reasonable and what is unreasonable.
We are not opponents of wind energy. Where wind energy makes sense it should be used. Wherever it is unreasonable and destructive, it should be avoided. The problem, of course, is that we often don’t fully understand the positive and negative impacts. I hope that this booklet will allow readers to have a better understanding of both German and international developments, so that the interested public can get a better picture of these particular problems of conservation.
—Benny Peiser, Global Warming Policy Foundation
This paper, produced by the Global Warming Policy Foundation and the German Wildlife Foundation, takes a Europe-wide look at the conflict between wind energy and nature conservation. In many European countries, people are opposing wind energy projects that are destroying wildlife habitats. … In particular, the consequences of wind turbines in forests are serious for many types of wildlife. We observe with great concern the massive expansion of wind power in Germany’s forest areas. … An open and constructive debate on the consequences that wind energy can have on wildlife – from insects to black storks to wildcats – is more than overdue.
The German Wildlife Foundation regards wind energy as an important contributor to the energy mix of the future. Its further expansion in Germany, Europe and also worldwide, however, should not be promoted at any price. For Germany, at least for the construction of wind turbines in the forest, we demand a moratorium. This would allow us to reconsider the future course of action and, on the basis of scientific findings and national and European nature conservation laws, to adopt a far-sighted course in line with the precautionary principle that is enshrined in environmental policy.
—Hilmar Freiherr von Münchhausen, German Wildlife Foundation
Ecological impacts of wind turbines – Peter Henderson, Pisces Conservation and University of Oxford
Wind power and birds of prey: problems and possible solutions – Oliver Krüger, University of Bielefeld
Wind energy in forests and species conservation: vision and reality – Klaus Richarz, Bundesverband Wissenschaftlicher Vogelschutz
Wind energy in Ireland – Paula Byrne, Wind Aware Ireland
© Copyright 2019 The Global Warming Policy Foundation
Download original document: “The impact of wind energy on wildife and the environment”
“Green killing machines: The impact of renewable energy on wildlife and nature”, by Andrew Montford
“Truly Green? How Germany’s ‘Energy Transition’ is destroying nature”, by Michael Miersch, director of the German Wildlife Foundation (Deutsche Wildtier Stiftung)
“Grüne Energie? Wie ökologisch sind Windkraft und Biogas?”