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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Landscape-scale effects of single- and multiple small wind turbines on bat activity (Forthcoming)
Authors: Minderman, Jeroen
Gillis, Mairi
Daly, Helen
Park, Kirsty
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Keywords: cumulative effects
domestic turbines
renewable energy
Citation: Minderman J, Gillis M, Daly H & Park K (2016) Landscape-scale effects of single- and multiple small wind turbines on bat activity (Forthcoming), Animal Conservation.
Abstract: While the effects of wind farms on bats are widely studied, effects of small wind turbines 16 (SWTs, here <25m hub height) remain understudied. SWTs are installed in a wider range of 17 habitats compared to wind farms and their effect on wildlife can therefore be different. While 18 single SWTs can adversely affect bat activity in their immediate vicinity, they are often installed 19 in clusters, and to date no data are available on whether installation of more than one turbine 20 increases the likelihood of adverse effects on bats. 21 Here, we test whether (1) SWT installations affect the activity of two species of bat (the common 22 pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus and soprano pipistrelle P. pygmaeus) on a landscape scale 23 (here defined as up to 500m from SWTs) and (2) such an effect is stronger when multiple (2-4) 24 SWTs are installed. We show that, after accounting for potentially confounding effects (e.g. 25 variation in habitat and weather), (1) mean P. pipistrellus activity is lower at 0-100m compared 26 to 200-500m from SWTs, and (2) the effect on P. pygmaeus activity tends to be similar and 27 stronger in multiple SWT sites, although evidence for the latter is limited. 28 We conclude that in some cases, adverse effects of SWTs on bat activity may be measurable 29 over longer spatial scales (within 100m) than previously thought. However, combined with 30 earlier findings, it is likely that the bulk of such effects operate within relative close proximity of 31 SWTs (<25m). Moreover, although these effects may be species-specific, with e.g. P. pygmaeus 32 potentially more strongly affected by multiple SWT sites, this requires further data. These 33 findings are highly relevant to decision-making aimed at minimizing any adverse effects of wind 34 turbines, specifically single- vs. multiple SWT developments, on wildlife.
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