Wind-power plants (WPs) within reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) habitat may have negative effects on reindeer habitat use. Avoidance effects towards a WP were tested by comparing reindeer distributions on a peninsula where a WP was built in 2006 with a control peninsula without a WP. Distributions were measured by direct observations during construction period, and in four subsequent years, and limited faecal pellet group counts along transects before, during and after the WP construction (2005–2010). We predicted higher reindeer density in the control than the WP peninsula and at increasing distances from the WP when controlling for habitat quality. We found no avoidance effects from the WP, with significantly more reindeer in the WP than the control peninsula. Faecal pellet group data supported a lack of negative effects towards the WP after construction compared to before, while area within 100 m from the access road to the WP was avoided during the construction period and for 3 years afterwards. Reindeer avoided low-quality habitat both in the control and WP peninsulas. Our study indicates that WP development might have minor effects on habitat use if built in poor habitats, at least for semi-domestic reindeer. Our results cannot be used to infer effects of a WP built in higher-quality habitats or where large-scale movements are less restrictive than on a peninsula. Disturbance effects of human infrastructure likely are context-dependent, and management should thus be careful in planning of WPs to minimize adverse effects.
Summer Distribution of Semi-Domesticated Reindeer Relative to a New Wind-Power Plant
Title: Summer Distribution of Semi-Domesticated Reindeer Relative to a New Wind-Power Plant
December 13, 2012
Journal: European Journal of Wildlife Research
Colman, J.; Eftestol, S.; Tsegaye, D.; Flydal, K.; Mysterud, A. (2012). Summer Distribution of Semi-Domesticated Reindeer Relative to a New Wind-Power Plant. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 59(3), 359-370.