Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ecologists allay fears for farmland birds from wind turbines

01.10.2008
Wind farms pose less of a threat to farmland birds than previously feared, new research has found. The study, published this week in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology, helps resolve a potentially major environmental conflict: how to meet renewable energy targets at the same time as reversing dramatic declines in biodiversity on European farmland.

Dr Mark Whittingham and colleagues from Newcastle University conducted bird surveys on arable farmland around two wind farms in the East Anglian fens. They recorded almost 3,000 birds from 23 different species, including five red-listed species of high conservation concern – the yellowhammer, the Eurasian tree sparrow, the corn bunting, Eurasian skylark and the common reed bunting.

They found the wind turbines had no effect on the distribution of seed-eating birds, corvids (the crow family), gamebirds and Eurasian skylarks. Common pheasants – the largest and least manoeuvrable species – were the only birds whose distribution was affected by the turbines.

According to Whittingham: “This is the first evidence suggesting that the present and future location of large numbers of wind turbines on European farmland is unlikely to have detrimental effects on farmland birds. This should be welcome news for nature conservationists, wind energy companies and policy makers. With large numbers of wind farms needing to be built on lowland areas, the cumulative impacts on farmland bird species has the potential to be a significant constraint to development.”

The results are important because the European Commission has set a target of generating 20% of EU energy from renewable sources by 2020. As agriculture is the major land use in the EU, more wind turbines will need to be built on farmland. At the same time, the EU is spending billions of Euros on agri-environment schemes, whose major goal is to boost biodiversity on farmland. If wind turbines harm farmland birds, the two environmental policies would be difficult to reconcile.

Previous studies by other researchers have concentrated on the impact of wind turbines on waterbirds and birds of prey. “Much terrestrial research into the effects of wind turbines on birds has focused on geese, waders and raptors, whose populations are highest in upland and coastal areas. There is increasing conservation concern about the impact of wind farms on these species in these areas, so applications to build new turbines are increasingly focusing on other sites, especially lowland farmland in central and eastern England,” says Whittingham.

As the study was conducted during the winter, further studies are needed on the impact of wind turbines on farmland birds during the breeding season.

Claire L Devereux, Matthew J H Denny and Mark J Whittingham (2008). Minimal effects of wind turbines on the distribution of wintering farmland birds. Journal of Applied Ecology, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2008.01560.x, is published online on 1 October 2008.

Melanie Thomson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.britishecologicalsociety.org
http://www.blackwellpublishing.com
http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers
26.06.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Fighting a destructive crop disease with mathematics
21.06.2017 | University of Cambridge

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

CCNY physicists master unexplored electron property

26.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Molecular microscopy illuminates molecular motor motion

26.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Large-Mouthed Fish Was Top Predator After Mass Extinction

26.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>