Before introducing the contents of this book I would like to tell you the story of it, how it all started and how we got here. It is easy to forget how it all started and just recall the final moments when we reach certain milestones, especially those who took time to achieve. In fact, although the writing of this book is the culmination of a process that allowed us to present the main results of the project Wind & Biodiversity (W&B), this process started much earlier, in 2003, with an idea, with a dream.
At that time, along with my colleague and friend Hugo Costa, we sought to work in ecology, particularly in applied ecology. We found our way in environmental consultancy, where an interactive procedure seeks to achieve sustainable development, respecting several components considered important by our society and as such, assigned to the rules governing the environmental legislation.
After some time working as freelancer consultants in environmental impact assessment, I, Hugo and another colleague, Paulo, coo-founded Bio3, a company specialized in environmental consultancy. Now, like in many other cases, this dream did not start in a garage but in the house of D. Prazeres, grandmother of Hugo, and during three years, grandmother of all those that were part of the Bio3 family. At the time, we aimed to create a leader company in environmental consulting services in Portugal and later become a reference in the international market. Since always, Bio3 has not operated as another consulting firm. From day one has committed to dedicate resources to the research and development of the methodologies used in environmental impact assessment. In fact, Bio3 rapidly focused in the wind power industry, and, although at that time the methodologies for the assessment and monitoring environmental impacts were scarce, much progress has been made since then. This journey, initiated in 2005 when Bio3 was founded, reached now this milestone thanks to the dream and vision of Bio3 and University of Aveiro teams and their extraordinary commitment to bring it all to reality. It was not an easy path, like in many other paths in which we challenge our skills and go beyond our goals, it had many ups and downs, numerous difficulties but at the same time, a lot of dedication and team spirit, driven by excellence and continuous improvement, motivated by the constant search for solutions and the nonconformity or refusal to stay by our comfort zone. Based on these values and thanks to the participation of all those that collaborated with the Bio3 and University of Aveiro, (employees and employee's relatives, clients, conservation technicians, environmental authorities), regardless of their contribution, everyone in one way or another helped to implement the project W&B and subsequently, the writing of this book. To all of them, we must express our wholehearted gratitude because without their cooperation we would not be here today. Also, we must apologize for not individualizing anyone because it would be so many names that we do not want to risk forgetting to mention someone.
Now specifically about this book, it is intended to be a communication and knowledge sharing tool, specifically of the core knowledge we have developed over the most recent years in the frame of the project W&B. Created for the benefit of the general public, any reader will be able to understand the relationship between wind farms and wildlife, in particular, birds and bats, the most vulnerable to wind turbines.
The book consists of five chapters. In the first chapter - "The demand for wind energy" - we start by addressing the relationship between humanity and their energy needs and the impacts those needs have on the environment. In the second chapter - "Biodiversity and wind energy conflicts" - are described the main impacts that wind farms have on birds and bats. After understanding what those impacts are, we move into the third chapter to explain how to identify, assess and monitor it - "Assessing the problem". In the fourth chapter - "Mitigation of the problem, the hierarchy of solutions" - we describe how to mitigate the impacts, keeping in mind that it all starts with prevention (avoidance). Finally we arrive to the fifth chapter - "Reconciling wind & biodiversity, the integrated management approach" - where, having in consideration all that has been mentioned before, we explain how to make an integrated and adaptive management of wind farms on what birds and bats are concerned.