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Responses of birds and mammals to long-established wind farms in India 

Author:  | India, Wildlife

Abstract: Wind turbines have been recognised as an alternative and clean-energy source with a low environmental impact. The selection of sites for wind-farm often creates serious conservation concerns on biodiversity. Wind turbines have become a serious threat to migratory birds as they collide with the turbine blades in some regions across the globe, while the impact on terrestrial mammals is relatively less explored. In this context, we assessed the responses of birds and mammals to the wind turbines in central Karnataka, India from January 2016 to May 2018 using carcass searches to quantify animal collisions (i.e., birds and bats), fixed radius point count for bird population parameters, and an occupancy framework for assessing the factor that determines the spatial occurrence of terrestrial mammals. The mean annual animal fatality rate per wind turbine was 0.26/year. Species richness, abundance, and unique species of birds were relatively higher in control sites over wind turbine sites. Species and functional compositions of birds in control sites were different from wind turbine sites, explaining the varied patterns of bird assemblages of different feeding guilds. Blackbuck, Chinkara, Golden Jackal, and Jungle Cat were less likely to occupy sites with a high number of wind turbines. The study indicates that certain bird and mammal species avoided wind turbine-dominated sites, affecting their distribution pattern. This is of concern to the management of the forested areas with wind turbines. We raised conservation issues and mitigating measures to overcome the negative effects of wind turbines on animals.

Honnavalli N. Kumara, S. Babu, G. Babu Rao, Santanu Mahato, Malyasri Bhattacharya, Nitin Venkatesh Ranga Rao, D. Tamiliniyan, Harif Parengal, D. Deepak, Athira Balakrishnan, Mahesh Bilaskar
Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Anaikatty, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu; Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Madhav Nagar, Manipal, Karnataka; Biopsychology Laboratory, Institution of Excellence, University of Mysore, Mysuru, Karnataka; Wildlife Institute of India, Chandrabani, Dehradun, Uttarakhand; Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu; National Institute of Advanced Studies, Indian Institute of Science Campus, Bangalore, Karnataka; Department of Environmental Sciences, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Ganeshkhind Road, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Scientific Reports volume 12, Article number: 1339 (2022). doi:10.1038/s41598-022-05159-1

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This material is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this material resides with the author(s). As part of its noncommercial educational 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. Queries e-mail.

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