Publications

Future research directions to reconcile wind turbine - wildlife interactions

May, R.; Gill, A.B.; Koppel, Johann; Langston, R.H.W.; Reichenbach, Marc; Scheidat, M.; Smallwood, Shawn; Voigt, C.; Hueppop, O.; Portman, Michelle

Summary

Concurrent with the development of wind energy, research activity on wind energy generation and wildlife has evolved significantly during the last decade. This chapter presents an overview of remaining key knowledge gaps, consequent future research directions and their significance for management and planning for wind energy generation. The impacts of wind farms on wildlife are generally site-, species- and season-specific and related management strategies and practices may differ considerably between countries. These differences acknowledge the need to consider potential wildlife impacts for each wind farm project. Still, the ecological mechanisms guiding species’ responses and potential vulnerability to wind farms can be expected to be fundamental in nature. A more cohesive understanding of the causes, patterns, mechanisms, and consequences of animal movement decisions will thereby facilitate successful mitigation of impacts. This requires planning approaches that implement the mitigation hierarchy effectively to reduce risks to species of concern. At larger geographical scales, population-level and cumulative impacts of multiple wind farms (and other anthropogenic activity) need to be addressed. This requires longitudinal and multiple-site studies to identify species-specific traits that influence risk of mortality, notably from collision with wind turbines, disturbance or barrier effects. In addition, appropriate pre- and post-construction monitoring techniques must be utilized. Predictive modelling to forecast risk, while tackling spatio-temporal variability, can guide the mitigation of wildlife impacts at wind farms.