Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ecologists Allay Fears For Farmland Birds From Wind Turbines

Date:
October 2, 2008
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
Wind farms pose less of a threat to farmland birds than previously feared, new research has found. The study 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.

A new study has found that wind farms pose less of a threat to farmland birds than previously feared.
Credit: iStockphoto/Josι Luis Gutiιrrez

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

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

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Ecologists Allay Fears For Farmland Birds From Wind Turbines." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081001093500.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2008, October 2). Ecologists Allay Fears For Farmland Birds From Wind Turbines. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081001093500.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Ecologists Allay Fears For Farmland Birds From Wind Turbines." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081001093500.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 20, 2014) — Forget rolling on rubber, could car drivers soon be traveling on tires made from dandelions? Teams of scientists are racing to breed a type of the yellow flower whose taproot has a milky fluid with tire-grade rubber particles in it. As Joanna Partridge reports, global tire makers are investing millions in research into a new tire source. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — A solar cell that resembles a flower is offering a new take on green energy in Japan, where one scientist is searching for renewables that look good. Duration: 01:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins