Wind energy has rapidly become an important alternative among renewable energies, and it is generally considered clean. However, little is known about its impact at the level of ecological communities, especially in biodiversity hotspots. The Isthmus of Tehuantepec is a highly biodiverse region in Mesoamerica, and has the highest potential for generating wind energy in Mexico. To assess the effects of installing a wind farm on the understory bat community in a landscape of fragmented habitat, we assessed its diversity and composition over four stages of installation (site preparation, construction, and two stages of operation). We captured 919 bats belonging to 22 species. Species richness, functional diversity and phylogenetic diversity decreased during construction and the first stage of operation. However, these components of biodiversity increased during the second stage of operation, and species composition began to resemble that of the site preparation stage. No species considered as sensitive to disturbance was recorded at any stage. This is the first study to reveal the diversity of a Neotropical bat community after wind turbines begin to operate.
Effects of a wind farm installation on the understory bat community of a highly biodiverse tropical region in Mexico
Title: Effects of a wind farm installation on the understory bat community of a highly biodiverse tropical region in Mexico
June 15, 2017
Briones-Salas, M.; Lavariega, M.; Moreno, C. (2017). Effects of a wind farm installation on the understory bat community of a highly biodiverse tropical region in Mexico. PeerJ, 5.