By Rob Mies (Executive Director, Organization for Bat Conservation)
It is imperative that we find cleaner ways to produce energy. It is also critically important that we do this with the least negative impact to plants and animals that share this planet. Giant wind farms have been documented to kill many birds and bats, especially during fall migration. A new book by Pelagic Publishing, Wildlife and Wind Farms, Conflicts and Solutions (Volume 1: Onshore: Potential Effects), edited by Martin R. Perrow, brings together dozens of leading experts to address the issue of impacts on wildlife by harnessing the wind.
This important handbook is very well organized, starting off with a history of wind farm installations to date, then leading into the potential impact on microclimate, vegetation and animals ranging from aquatic to terrestrial. The editor concludes that the most serious effect of wind farms is collision of wildlife with turbines. Birds and bats are the groups of wildlife suffering the most from collision with turbines. Barclay, Baerwald and Rydell summarize what is known about the mass bat fatalities that have been documented between 2003-2015.
Volume 1 engages with 40 leading researchers to provide a basis for discussion of the potential effects of wind farms on wildlife. Illustrations are used to help the reader understand the complexity of the technology, color images shared by the wildlife experts help to connect the reader on an emotional level and the extensive bibliography at the end of each chapter provides the student and professional the opportunity to delve further into each topic.
This book is well researched and does a great job of explaining the information we have about the potential effects of wind farms on wildlife. The next book, Volume 2: Onshore: Monitoring and Mitigation, will be received with great anticipation. It will be most important to fill in our knowledge gaps that these handbooks outline and use our best judgment to make sound decisions on design, placement and mitigation techniques to ensure a win-win scenario for finding cleaner ways to produce energy at the same time conserving our important natural resources.
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