Resource Documents: Wildlife (240 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: Arnett, Edward; Baerwald, Erin; Mathews, Fiona; Rodriques, Luisa; Rodríquez-Durán, Armando; Rydell, Jens; Villegas-Patrace, Rafael; and Voigt, Christian
Abstract – Wind energy continues to be one of the fastest growing renewable energy sources under development, and while representing a clean energy source, it is not environmentally neutral. Large numbers of bats are being killed at utility-scale wind energy facilities worldwide, raising concern about cumulative impacts of wind energy development on bat populations. We discuss our current state of knowledge on patterns of bat fatalities at wind facilities, estimates of fatalities, mitigation efforts, and policy and conservation implications. Given the magnitude and extent of fatalities of bats worldwide, the conservation implications of understanding and mitigating bat fatalities at wind energy facilities are critically important and should be proactive and based on science rather than being reactive and arbitrary.
Edward B. Arnett, Erin F. Baerwald, Fiona Mathews, Luisa Rodrigues, Armando Rodríguez-Durán, Jens Rydell, Rafael Villegas-Patraca, and Christian C. Voigt
In: Christian C. Voigt and Tigga Kingston (eds.), Bats in the Anthropocene: Conservation of Bats in a Changing World, Springer Cham, 2016; chapter 11, pp 295-323
Download original document: “Impacts of Wind Energy Development on Bats: A Global Perspective”
Author: Arnett, Edward; and Baerwald, Erin
At a time of growing concern over the rising costs and long-term environmental impacts from the use of fossil fuels, wind energy has become an increasingly important sector of the electrical power industry. However, large numbers of bats are being killed at utility-scale wind energy facilities, and these fatalities raise important concerns about cumulative impacts of proposed wind energy development on bat populations. We discuss our current state of knowledge on patterns of bat fatalities at wind facilities, present new information on cumulative fatalities in the USA and Canada, and present findings from mitigation studies. Given the magnitude and extent of fatalities of bats worldwide, the conservation implications of understanding and mitigating bat fatalities at wind energy facilities are critically important.
Edward B. Arnett, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Loveland, Colorado
Erin F. Baerwald, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, Alberta
In: Rick A. Adams, Scott C. Pedersen (eds). Bat Evolution, Ecology, and Conservation. Springer, New York, 2013; chapter 21, pp 435–456
Download original document: “Impacts of Wind Energy Development on Bats: Implications for Conservation”
Bird and bat species’ global vulnerability to collision mortality at wind farms revealed through a trait-based assessment
Author: Thaxter, Chris; et al.
Mitigation of anthropogenic climate change involves deployments of renewable energy worldwide, including wind farms, which can pose a significant collision risk to volant animals. Most studies into the collision risk between species and wind turbines, however, have taken place in industrialized countries. Potential effects for many locations and species therefore remain unclear. To redress this gap, we conducted a systematic literature review of recorded collisions between birds and bats and wind turbines within developed countries. We related collision rate to species-level traits and turbine characteristics to quantify the potential vulnerability of 9538 bird and 888 bat species globally. Avian collision rate was affected by migratory strategy, dispersal distance and habitat associations, and bat collision rates were influenced by dispersal distance. For birds and bats, larger turbine capacity (megawatts) increased collision rates; however, deploying a smaller number of large turbines with greater energy output reduced total collision risk per unit energy output, although bat mortality increased again with the largest turbines. Areas with high concentrations of vulnerable species were also identified, including migration corridors. Our results can therefore guide wind farm design and location to reduce the risk of large-scale animal mortality. This is the first quantitative global assessment of the relative collision vulnerability of species groups with wind turbines, providing valuable guidance for minimizing potentially serious negative impacts on biodiversity.
Chris B. Thaxter, Graeme M. Buchanan, Jamie Carr, Stuart H. M. Butchart, Tim Newbold, Rhys E. Green, Joseph A. Tobias, Wendy B. Foden, Sue O’Brien, and James W. Pearce-Higgins
Proceedings of the Royal Society B, volume 284, issue 1862. Published online 13 September 2017.
- File S1: Collision dataset and list of references reviewed
- File S2: Supplementary R code and supporting files and datasets providing an example of the trait-based analysis and model predictions for birds, based on one phylogenetic reconstruction method (6 files)
- File S3: Model predictions of collisions per turbine per year for bird species worldwide
- File S4: Model predictions of collisions per turbine per year for bat species worldwide
- Appendix A1: Supplementary figure for the location of onshore wind farms included in this study
- Appendix A2: Supplementary methods detailing classification of study quality for studies included in the meta analysis
- Appendix A3: Rationale for species traits selection for species included in the meta analysis
- Appendix A4: Additional information on data manipulation and statistical analyses
- Appendix A5: Beta coefficients from MCMCglmm models for birds and bats
- Appendix A6: Summary of model predictions of collisions per turbine per year for families of birds and bats
- Appendix A7: Comparison of model predictions to the IUCN Red List assessment of species vulnerability to the threat of renewable energy.
Author: Foo, Cecily; Bennett, Victoria; et al.
Although the ultimate causes of high bat fatalities at wind farms are not well understood, several lines of evidence suggest that bats are attracted to wind turbines. One hypothesis is that bats would be attracted to turbines as a foraging resource if the insects that bats prey upon are commonly present on and around the turbine towers. To investigate the role that foraging activity may play in bat fatalities, we conducted a series of surveys at a wind farm in the southern Great Plains of the US from 2011 to 2016. From acoustic monitoring we recorded foraging activity, including feeding buzzes indicative of prey capture, in the immediate vicinity of turbine towers from all six bat species known to be present at this site. From insect surveys we found Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, and Orthoptera in consistently high proportions over several years suggesting that food resources for bats were consistently available at wind turbines. We used DNA barcoding techniques to assess bat diet composition of (1) stomach contents from 47 eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis) and 24 hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus) carcasses collected in fatality searches, and (2) fecal pellets from 23 eastern red bats that were found on turbine towers, transformers, and tower doors. We found that the majority of the eastern red bat and hoary bat stomachs, the two bat species most commonly found in fatality searches at this site, were full or partially full, indicating that the bats were likely killed while foraging. Although Lepidoptera and Orthoptera dominated the diets of these two bat species, both consumed a range of prey items with individual bats having from one to six insect species in their stomachs at the time of death. The prey items identified from eastern red bat fecal pellets showed similar results. A comparison of the turbine insect community to the diet analysis results revealed that the most abundant insects at wind turbines, including terrestrial insects such as crickets and several important crop pests, were also commonly eaten by eastern red and hoary bats. Collectively, these findings suggest that bats are actively foraging around wind turbines and that measures to minimize bat fatalities should be broadly implemented at wind facilities.
Cecily F. Foo, Victoria J. Bennett, Amanda M. Hale, Jennifer M. Korstian, Alison J. Schildt, and Dean A. Williams
Department of Biology and School of Geology (V.J.B.), Energy, and the Environment, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas
PeerJ 5:e3985. Published online November 3, 2017.
Download original document: “Increasing evidence that bats actively forage at wind turbines”