In their literature review, the authors of the paper, USGS scientist Jeffrey Lovich and Maryville College scientist Joshua Ennen, found that out of all the scientific papers they examined, going back well before the 1980s, only one peer-reviewed study addressed the direct impacts of large-scale solar energy development and operations on any kind of wildlife. Peer-reviewed studies are those that have been reviewed by experts in the same field of study and are then published in scientific journals.
One reason why there are few peer-reviewed studies is that the interest in developing alternative energy has grown exponentially in recent years and science has to “catch up.” Opportunities for hypothesis-driven research on solar energy facilities of this scale, particularly research looking at baseline conditions before development, impacts of operation, or conditions after development, have been limited.
The authors pointed out that a great deal of information exists in environmental compliance documents and other unpublished, non-peer-reviewed literature sources, but that more peer-reviewed studies are greatly needed.
"The dearth of peer-reviewed studies, as shown by the USGS review, can happen whenever society rapidly embarks on major undertakings, such as developing large-scale solar projects," explained USGS director Marcia McNutt. "Our goal is to raise the visibility and accessibility of information of impacts of solar energy impacts on wildlife as these important projects move forward."
According to Lovich and Ennen, these studies are particularly important in sensitive habitats such as the desert Southwest with its wildlife diversity and fragile arid desert lands. "For example," said Lovich, "the desert tortoise is an ecological engineer whose burrows provide much-needed shelter for many other desert species. Yet large areas of habitat occupied by Agassiz's desert tortoise and some other at-risk species have potential for large-scale solar-energy developments."
The review paper findings can help the Bureau of Land Management and other agencies charged with solar siting, development, and operational responsibilities to identify, prioritize, and resolve information gaps relative to development and operational impacts to wildlife, and direct monitoring efforts.
The paper does not contain any new scientific findings; rather, it examined peer-reviewed, already published articles. This is a common way to assess the state of published knowledge on a topic, identify information and research gaps, and focus future projects.
The paper, Wildlife conservation and solar energy development in the desert Southwest, is authored by Jeffrey E. Lovich and Joshua R. Ennen.
Catherine Puckett | EurekAlert!
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering