Climate change scenarios and efforts to reduce CO2 emissions have increased the focus on wind power and other renewable energy sources. Despite producing “clean” electricity, windfarms do have impacts on the environment. We studied the impact from a coastal windfarm on the breeding success of white-tailed eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) at Smøla, western Norway by means of a BACI (before–after–control–impact) approach. The objective was to compare pre- and post-construction breeding success. A 10 year dataset from 47 eagle territories were analyzed using a generalized linear mixed model. Successful breeding was used as a response variable, while distance to turbines, distance to roads and before/after turbine construction were used as predictors. There was a significant effect of the interaction between time period and distance to turbines, showing that territories within 500 m from the turbines in the post-construction period experienced significantly lower breeding success than the same territories before construction. We found that this effect was most likely due to territories being vacated. The results emphasize the importance of using a BACI approach when assessing possible effects from wind-power production on breeding birds, especially for species breeding at low densities. It also emphasizes the importance of conducting thorough pre-construction studies on vulnerable bird species.
Reduced Breeding Success in White-Tailed Eagles at Smøla windfarm, Western Norway, is Caused by Mortality and Displacement
Title: Reduced Breeding Success in White-Tailed Eagles at Smøla windfarm, Western Norway, is Caused by Mortality and Displacement
January 01, 2012
Journal: Biological Conservation
Dahl, E.; Bevanger, K.; Nygård, T.; Roskaft, E.; Stokke, B. (2012). Reduced Breeding Success in White-Tailed Eagles at Smøla windfarm, Western Norway, is Caused by Mortality and Displacement. Biological Conservation, 145(1), 79-85.