Avian Sensitivity to Mortality: Prioritising Migratory Bird Species for Assessment at Proposed Wind Farms

Journal Article

Title: Avian Sensitivity to Mortality: Prioritising Migratory Bird Species for Assessment at Proposed Wind Farms
Authors: Desholm, M.
Publication Date:
June 01, 2009
Journal: Journal of Environmental Management
Volume: 90
Issue: 8
Pages: 2672-2679
Publisher: Elsevier

Document Access

Website: External Link

Citation

Desholm, M. (2009). Avian Sensitivity to Mortality: Prioritising Migratory Bird Species for Assessment at Proposed Wind Farms. Journal of Environmental Management, 90(8), 2672-2679.
Abstract: 

Wind power generation is likely to constitute one of the most extensive human physical exploitation activities of European marine areas in the near future. The many millions of migrating birds that pass these man-made obstacles are protected by international obligations and the subject of public concerns. Yet some bird species are more sensitive to bird–wind turbine mortality than others. This study developed a simple and logical framework for ranking bird species with regard to their relative sensitivity to bird–wind turbine-collisions, and applied it to a data set comprising 38 avian migrant species at the Nysted offshore wind farm in Denmark. Two indicators were selected to characterize the sensitivity of each individual species: 1) relative abundance and 2) demographic sensitivity (elasticity of population growth rate to changes in adult survival). In the case-study from the Nysted offshore wind farm, birds of prey and waterbirds dominated the group of high priority species and only passerines showed a low risk of being impacted by the wind farm. Even where passerines might be present in very high numbers, they often represent insignificant segments of huge reference populations that, from a demographic point of view, are relatively insensitive to wind farm-related adult mortality. It will always be important to focus attention and direct the resources towards the most sensitive species to ensure cost-effective environmental assessments in the future, and in general, this novel index seems capable of identifying the species that are at high risk of being adversely affected by wind farms.

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