Little is known about the potentially disrupting effects of wind farms on the habitat connectivity of flying vertebrates at the landscape scale. We developed a regional-scale model to assess the wind farm impact on bat migration and commuting routes. The model was implemented for the bat Nyctalus leisleri in a region of central Italy currently undergoing considerable wind farm development. A Species Distribution Model (SDM) for N. leisleri was generated using the MaxEnt algorithm based on 47 presence records and 10 environmental variables derived from topographic and land cover maps. SDM was used to create a map of connectivity using the software UNICOR. The incidence of each wind farm on bat flight corridors was assessed by overlaying the existing (380) and planned (195) turbine locations onto the connectivity map. SDM was statistically robust (AUC > 0.8). Most of the corridors were concentrated in the western part of the region, which hosts the largest suitable areas, and most of the existing (54%) and planned (72%) wind farms interfered with important corridors connecting the western and the eastern parts of the region. Our results provide key information on the impact of the wind farm industry on biodiversity on a regional scale. The novel approach adopted, based on species distribution models and connectivity analysis, could be easily extended to other flying vertebrates and landscapes and constitutes a promising planning tool necessary for harmonizing the development of renewable energy infrastructures with issues of biodiversity conservation.

A modelling approach to infer the effects of wind farms on landscape connectivity for bats

CARRANZA, Maria Laura
Writing – Review & Editing
;
LOY, Anna
Ultimo
;
DI FEBBRARO, Mirko
2014-01-01

Abstract

Little is known about the potentially disrupting effects of wind farms on the habitat connectivity of flying vertebrates at the landscape scale. We developed a regional-scale model to assess the wind farm impact on bat migration and commuting routes. The model was implemented for the bat Nyctalus leisleri in a region of central Italy currently undergoing considerable wind farm development. A Species Distribution Model (SDM) for N. leisleri was generated using the MaxEnt algorithm based on 47 presence records and 10 environmental variables derived from topographic and land cover maps. SDM was used to create a map of connectivity using the software UNICOR. The incidence of each wind farm on bat flight corridors was assessed by overlaying the existing (380) and planned (195) turbine locations onto the connectivity map. SDM was statistically robust (AUC > 0.8). Most of the corridors were concentrated in the western part of the region, which hosts the largest suitable areas, and most of the existing (54%) and planned (72%) wind farms interfered with important corridors connecting the western and the eastern parts of the region. Our results provide key information on the impact of the wind farm industry on biodiversity on a regional scale. The novel approach adopted, based on species distribution models and connectivity analysis, could be easily extended to other flying vertebrates and landscapes and constitutes a promising planning tool necessary for harmonizing the development of renewable energy infrastructures with issues of biodiversity conservation.
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10980-014-0030-2
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11695/2291
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