Continued global expansion in the development of energy and its associated infrastructure is expected in the coming decades. Substantial concern exists about the impacts of this energy infrastructure on bird populations. In this special section, Smith and Dwyer (2016) provide a timely review of interactions between birds and renewable energy infrastructure, and several studies address avian interactions with renewable and nonrenewable energy infrastructure. I briefly summarize these studies and place avian interactions with energy infrastructure in the context of the many anthropogenic threats to birds. There is vast variation in the amount of mortality caused by different man-made threats. Comparing threats in the context of energy development is useful for attracting public, scientific, and policy attention, for highlighting major research gaps, for providing scientific evidence to inform resource allocation decisions, and for developing mitigation strategies whereby mortality risk from one threat can be offset by reducing risk from another threat. However, broad comparisons of mortality should not be used on their own to draw conclusions about population-level impacts, to conclude that low mortality or a paucity of information negates biologically significant impacts or obviates a need for action, or to develop mortality mitigation strategies when little information exists to inform the balancing of risks. To move beyond gross mortality estimates toward comparisons of actual population-level impacts, a balance must be struck between conducting research that produces generalizable results and studies that focus on species, locations, and response variables of interest. Additional information about the many direct and indirect effects of energy infrastructure, such as the research described by the articles in this special section, will be crucial to achieving an optimal tradeoff between energy development and wildlife conservation.
Avian Interactions with Energy Infrastructure in the Context of Other Anthropogenic Threats
Title: Avian Interactions with Energy Infrastructure in the Context of Other Anthropogenic Threats
May 01, 2016
Journal: The Condor: Ornithological Applications
Loss, S. (2016). Avian Interactions with Energy Infrastructure in the Context of Other Anthropogenic Threats. The Condor: Ornithological Applications, 118(2), 424-432.