Resource Documents: Wildlife (264 items)
Documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are provided 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.
Author: Trieb, Franz
The study investigates possible coherence of flying insect losses recently discovered in Germany and insect impingement on the rotor blades of wind turbines.
Evidence from literature confirms that migrating insects select fast air streams above the turbulent surface layer of the atmosphere for the purpose of efficient displacement to breeding grounds.Wind farm developers select sites with strong winds and install high towers with rotors just above the surface layer in order to optimize the energy output of their wind turbines. As a result of this coincidence, large numbers of flying insects can be expected in wind farms.
Model calculation of the amount of insect biomass that traverses wind rotors during operation provides a first estimate of the order of magnitude of 24,000 tons of insects crossing the German wind park throughout the summer season. Based on conservative model assumptions, five percent of the insects flying through a rotor could be actually damaged. The related loss of 1,200 tons per year since more than fifteen years could be relevant for population stability.
Species flying at critical rotor heights between 20 and 220 meters above ground level in addition to those already found within this study should urgently be identified by DNA meta-barcoding of the deposits that are regularly found on rotor blades. In addition to that, wind farms should be enabled to recognize approaching insect swarms and to react accordingly for their protection and conservation.
Department of Systems Analysis and Technology Assessment, Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics
Stuttgart, Germany, 30.10.2018
Download original document: “Interference of Flying Insects and Wind Parks”
Operational offshore wind farms and associated ship traffic cause profound changes in distribution patterns of Loons (Gavia spp.)
Author: Mendel, Bettina; et al.
Seabirds select suitable habitats at sea, but these habitats may be strongly impacted by marine spatial planning, including the construction of offshore wind farms (OWFs) and the associated ship traffic. Loons (Gavia spp.) are particularly vulnerable to anthropogenic activities and are also of high conservation status, making them particularly relevant to marine planning processes. We investigated the effects of OWF construction and ship traffic on Loon distributions in the German North Sea on a large spatial scale, using a ‘before–after’ control impact analysis approach and a long-term data set. Many OWFs were built in or close to core areas of Loon distributions. Loons showed significant shifts in their distribution in the ‘after’ period and subsequently aggregated between two OWF clusters, indicating the remaining suitable habitat. The decrease in Loon abundance became significant as far as about 16 km from the closest OWF. Ship traffic also had a significant negative impact on Loons, indicating that OWFs deterred Loons through the combined effect of ship traffic and the wind turbines themselves. This study provides the first analysis of the extensive effects of OWFs and ships on Loons on a large spatial scale. The results provide an essential baseline for future marine spatial planning processes in the German North Sea and elsewhere.
Bettina Mendel, Philipp Schwemmer, Verena Peschko, Sabine Müller, Henriette Schwemmer, Moritz Mercker, Stefan Garthe
Research and Technology Centre (FTZ), University of Kiel, Büsum, Germany
Journal of Environmental Management 231 (2019) 429–438
Download original document: “Operational offshore wind farms and associated ship traffic cause profound changes in distribution patterns of Loons”
Author: Law, Peter; and Fuller, Mark
Anthropogenic alterations to landscape are indicators of potential compromise of that landscape’s ecology. We describe how alterations can be assessed as ‘hazards’ to wildlife through a sequence of three steps: diagnosing the means by which the hazard acts on individual organisms at risk; estimating the fitness cost of the hazard to those individuals and the rate at which that cost occurs; and translating that cost rate into a demographic cost by identifying the relevant demographically-closed population. We exploit the conservation-oriented literature on wind farms to illustrate this conceptual scheme. For wind farms, the third component has received less attention than the first two, which suggests it is the most challenging of the three components. A wind farm provides an example of a ‘spatially localized hazard’, i.e., a discrete alteration of landscape hazardous to some population but of which there are some individuals that do not interact directly with the hazard themselves but nevertheless suffer a reduction in fitness in terms of their contribution to the next generation. Spatially localized hazards are identified via the third component of the scheme and are of particular conservation concern as, by their nature, their depredations on wildlife may be underestimated without an appropriate population-level estimation of the demographic cost of the hazard.
Peter R. Law, Centre for African Conservation Ecology, Department of Zoology, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa
Mark Fuller, Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Boise, Idaho
Ecological Indicators 94 (2018) 380–385
Download original document: “Evaluating anthropogenic landscape alterations as wildlife hazards, with wind farms as an example”
Author: Hunt, W. Grainger; et al.
Raptors are exposed to a wide variety of human-related mortality agents, and yet population-level effects are rarely quantified. Doing so requires modeling vital rates in the context of species life-history, behavior, and population dynamics theory. In this paper, we explore the details of such an analysis by focusing on the demography of a resident, tree-nesting population of golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in the vicinity of an extensive (142 km²) windfarm in California. During 1994–2000, we tracked the fates of >250 radio-marked individuals of four life-stages and conducted five annual surveys of territory occupancy and reproduction. Collisions with wind turbines accounted for 41% of 88 uncensored fatalities, most of which were subadults and nonbreeding adults (floaters). A consistent overall male preponderance in the population meant that females were the limiting sex in this territorial, monogamous species. Estimates of potential population growth rate and associated variance indicated a stable breeding population, but one for which any further decrease in vital rates would require immigrant floaters to fill territory vacancies. Occupancy surveys 5 and 13 years later (2005 and 2013) showed that the nesting population remained intact, and no upward trend was apparent in the proportion of subadult eagles as pair members, a condition that would have suggested a deficit of adult replacements. However, the number of golden eagle pairs required to support windfarm mortality was large. We estimated that the entire annual reproductive output of 216–255 breeding pairs would have been necessary to support published estimates of 55–65 turbine blade-strike fatalities per year. Although the vital rates forming the basis for these calculations may have changed since the data were collected, our approach should be useful for gaining a clearer understanding of how anthropogenic mortality affects the health of raptor populations, particularly those species with delayed maturity and naturally low reproductive rates.
W. Grainger Hunt, J. David Wiens, Peter R. Law, Mark R. Fuller, Teresa L. Hunt, Daniel E. Driscoll, Ronald E. Jackman
The Peregrine Fund, Boise, Idaho; Predatory Bird Research Group, Long Marine Laboratory, University of California, Santa Cruz; Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, United States Geological Survey, Corvallis, Oregon; Centre for African Conservation Ecology, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, Republic of South Africa; Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, United States Geological Survey, Boise, Idaho; Garcia and Associates, San Anselmo, California; American Eagle Research Institute, Apache Junction, Arizona
PLoS ONE 2017;12(2):e0172232
Download original document: “Quantifying the demographic cost of human-related mortality to a raptor population”