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Resource Documents: Wildlife (240 items)

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Also see NWW "wildlife" FAQ

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.


Date added:  November 9, 2017
WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Impacts of Wind Energy Development on Bats: A Global Perspective

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

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Date added:  November 9, 2017
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Impacts of Wind Energy Development on Bats: Implications for Conservation

Author:  Arnett, Edward; and Baerwald, Erin

Abstract —
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

Presentation (view below): Impacts of Wind Energy Development on Bats: Implications for Conservation

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Date added:  November 4, 2017
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Bird and bat species’ global vulnerability to collision mortality at wind farms revealed through a trait-based assessment

Author:  Thaxter, Chris; et al.

Abstract —
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

British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford, Norfolk, UK (CBT, JWP-H)
British Trust for Ornithology, Cambridge, UK (CBT, JWP-H)
RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Edinburgh, UK (GMB)
International Union for Conservation of Nature, Cambridge, UK (JC)
BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK (SHMB)
Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research, Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, London, UK (TN)
Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK (REG, JWP-H)
RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, Cambridge, UK (REG)
Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Ascot, UK (JAT)
Department of Botany and Zoology, University of Stellenbosch, Matieland, Stellenbosch, South Africa (WBF)
Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Aberdeen, UK (SO’B)

Proceedings of the Royal Society B, volume 284, issue 1862. Published online 13 September 2017.
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.0829

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Date added:  November 3, 2017
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Increasing evidence that bats actively forage at wind turbines

Author:  Foo, Cecily; Bennett, Victoria; et al.

Abstract —
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.
doi: 10.7717/peerj.3985

Download original document: “Increasing evidence that bats actively forage at wind turbines

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