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 Six-legged livestock -- sustainable food production
11.05.2017 | Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen

nachricht Elephant Herpes: Super-Shedders Endanger Young Animals
04.05.2017 | Universität Zürich

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: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>