A new study of the impacts of windfarms on upland waders suggests that the greatest impact of windfarms are during construction rather than their operation.
The paper by Pearce-Higgins, Stephen, Douse & Langston published in the Journal of Ecology studied the impacts of wind farms on upland waders to determine if the breeding densities of upland birds are reduced as a result of the construction and operation of windfarms.
Their research involved collecting long-term monitoring data of a range of upland bird species at 18 wind farm sites in the UK and comparing breeding bird densities and population trends between years before, during and after wind farm construction. These were contrasted with effects at wind farms with paired reference sites acting as controls.
In spite of adverse effects on densities of some species during wind farm construction, the study found little evidence for longer-term population declines in the years thereafter suggesting for the first time that wind farm construction can have greater impacts upon birds than wind farm operation.
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