Collision hotspots for migrating birds revealed in new examine

Collision hotspots for migrating birds revealed in new study
Griffon vulture. Credit: Jethro Gauld

New analysis led by the University of East Anglia (UEA) highlights the areas in Europe and North Africa the place the development of wind generators or energy strains is more likely to enhance the danger of loss of life for migrating birds.

The examine used GPS location knowledge from 65 chook monitoring research to grasp the place they fly extra ceaselessly at hazard top—outlined as 10-60 meters above floor for energy strains and 15-135 meters for wind generators. This allowed the group to determine the areas the place these birds can be extra delicate to onshore wind turbine or energy line growth.

Resulting vulnerability maps reveal that the collision hotspots are significantly concentrated inside vital migration routes, alongside coastlines and close to breeding places. These embrace the Western Mediterranean coast of France, Southern Spain and the Moroccan Coast—equivalent to across the Strait of Gibraltar—Eastern Romania, the Sinai Peninsula and the Baltic coast of Germany.

The GPS knowledge collected associated to 1,454 birds from 27 species, principally massive hovering ones equivalent to white storks. Exposure to danger diverse throughout the species, with the Eurasian spoonbill, European eagle owl, whooper swan, Iberian imperial eagle and white stork amongst these flying constantly at heights the place they danger collision.

The examine, revealed immediately within the Journal of Applied Ecology, concerned a world group of researchers from 15 international locations and organizations together with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and the RSPB within the UK.

The authors say growth of latest wind generators and transmission energy strains must be minimized in these excessive sensitivity areas, and any developments which do happen will doubtless have to be accompanied by measures to cut back the danger to birds.

Lead creator Jethro Gauld, a Ph.D. researcher in UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences, mentioned, it was regarded as the primary time GPS monitoring knowledge from a number of species had been used on this approach.

“We know from previous research that there are many more suitable locations to build wind turbines than we need in order to meet our clean energy targets up to 2050,” mentioned Mr Gauld.

“If we are able to do a greater job of assessing dangers to biodiversity, equivalent to collision danger for birds, into the planning course of at an early stage we might help restrict the affect of those developments on wildlife whereas nonetheless attaining our local weather targets.

“Our results will help achieve this and in doing so provide better outcomes for people and wildlife.”

Collision hotspots for migrating birds revealed in new study
White stork traversing transmission strains. Credit: Jethro Gauld

Dr. Aldina Franco, the challenge supervisor at UEA, mentioned: “This collaborative study including research from 51 researchers and 15 countries is a great example of where working together can start to answer some of the big questions around the threats that African-Eurasian migrants face on their long annual journeys.”

Phil Atkinson, challenge supervisor from the BTO, mentioned: “The use of high precision GPS devices allow us to study birds’ movements in huge detail. Birds do not respect country boundaries and power lines and wind turbines impact migratory birds across their annual cycle, especially for large soaring birds such as raptors and storks.”

The researchers mixed the sensitivity knowledge with the places of present onshore wind farms and energy strains to determine the place the vulnerability hotspots are for these birds, for instance the areas the place they’re already experiencing excessive danger of collision because of the presence of wind generators or energy strains.

Mr Gauld added: “Our maps also can assist goal measures to cut back dangers the place beforehand constructed developments are already inflicting issues. They spotlight the areas the place present vitality infrastructure is already offering a supply of collision danger for these birds. It is subsequently a key conservation precedence for added measures to cut back collision danger are applied in these vulnerability hotspots.

“Such measures can include marking power lines to make them more visible and implementing systems to allow shutdown of wind turbines during periods of high bird traffic.”

The authors acknowledge that transition to zero carbon vitality is important to keep away from runaway local weather change. European onshore wind vitality capability is projected to develop practically fourfold by 2050, and international locations within the Middle East and North Africa, equivalent to Morocco and Tunisia, even have targets to extend the share of electrical energy provide from onshore wind.

Alongside this there shall be an enormous funding in new excessive voltage energy strains, with an estimated fivefold enhance in transmission capability required between 2010 and 2050.

However, they warn the growth of renewable vitality infrastructure required to attain this poses a problem to wildlife conservation attributable to collision and electrocution dangers, significantly for birds.

The researchers hope the examine supplies a way which different researchers and practitioners concerned in environmental affect assessments for renewables can replicate as extra knowledge from monitoring research turns into accessible.

“Hotspots in the Grid: Avian Sensitivity and Vulnerability to Collision Risk from Energy Infrastructure Interactions in Europe and North Africa” is revealed within the Journal of Applied Ecology on April 12.

Whooping cranes avoid wind generators when choosing stopover websites

More info:
Hotspots within the Grid: Avian Sensitivity and Vulnerability to Collision Risk from Energy Infrastructure Interactions in Europe and North Africa, Journal of Applied Ecology (2022). DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.14160

Collision hotspots for migrating birds revealed in new examine (2022, April 12)
retrieved 12 April 2022

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