Exponential growth of the wind energy industry in Portugal entails a non-negligible pressure on wildlife, especially on bird and bat communities that must be studied. In this chapter, a general characterisation of the wind energy industry in mainland Portugal is provided, in association with a quantitative analysis of the direct impacts identified over the past 10 years. Aiming to identify the species most affected by wind turbine-caused fatalities, we analysed the reports of 44 monitoring programmes pertaining to wind farms in their operational phase conducted between 2005 and 2015. The information gathered from these reports, combined with the general characteristics of the territory and the timeframe when fatalities happened, highlighted both spatial and temporal fatality hotspots for the bird and bat communities. Our analysis revealed a higher fatality concentration in northern Portugal and, although several of the affected species are widespread and of least conservation concern, they are migratory and have known fatalities in neighbouring countries. Such findings emphasise the importance of studying the impacts at a regional scale, using a single framework, since the cumulative effects on the populations’ viability are currently unknown and require further investigation.
This is a book chapter in Biodiversity and Wind Farms in Portugal: Current Knowledge and Insights for an Integrated Impact Assessment Process.