- Anthropogenic structures such as those associated with energy development are a major threat to wildlife as a result of direct and indirect effects on populations. Species already imperilled as a result of habitat loss and alteration also may be the most threatened by rapidly increasing energy development, and these added pressures could lead to species extinctions and further declines in biodiversity.
- Of particular concern are tetraonids (grouse spp.) which have life cycles that require large, intact habitats to persist. We searched the peer-reviewed literature to assess impacts of six anthropogenic structures (i.e. oil and gas, fences, wind turbines, buildings, roads and power lines) on grouse survival and displacement behaviour across four different time periods in a grouse life cycle (i.e. year around, lekking, nesting and brooding).
- We used 5 studies that examined a total of 23 study–structure combinations to assess displacement behaviour in grouse and found an average effect of −1·40 (95% CI: −1·50, −1·31), indicating that anthropogenic structures displace grouse. Similarly, we used 9 studies examining a total of 17 study–structure combinations to assess survival and found an average effect of −1·11 (95% CI: −1·33, −0·88), indicating a negative effect of structures on grouse survival.
- Oil and gas structures had the greatest negative effect on displacement behaviour (E = −2·41, 95% CI: −3·28, −1·54), and of the periods of the life cycle examined, lek attendance was most affected (E = −4·85, 95% CI: −6·39, −3·31).
- Synthesis and applications. This data-driven synthesis reveals an overall negative effect of anthropogenic structures on grouse displacement behaviour and survival. Specifically, grouse were displaced and had lower survival in the presence of oil and gas structures and the presence of roads resulted in displacement behaviour. Too few studies existed to examine the specific effects of wind turbines and fences on displacement behaviour and the impact of wind turbines, fences, buildings and power lines on survival, which emphasizes the need for research assessing the influence of these structures on wildlife. Future management should focus on limiting the amount of oil and gas and road development in areas occupied by extant grouse populations, and if unavoidable, new infrastructure should be placed at low densities away from known lekking locations as leks appear sensitive to disturbance from anthropogenic structures.