PARIS – Wind turbines now act as a top "predator" in some ecosystems, injured birds at the top of the…
PARIS – Wind turbines now act as a top “predator” in some ecosystems, injured birds at the top of the food chain and trigger a knock-on effect that is often overlooked by green energy advocates, researchers say on Monday. 19659002] Vind is the fastest growing renewable energy sector, delivering around 4 percent of global demand for electricity.
Nearly 17 million hectares – an area that is roughly the size of Tunisia – is currently used to generate wind energy worldwide and researchers warned that developers had “strongly underestimated” the impact of the technology on wildlife.
In a new research, an international team of researchers studied the effects of wind turbine use in Western Ghats, a UNESCO-listed mountain and forest range that spans the west coast of India and a global biodiversity hotspot.
They found that birds of prey were four times rare in areas on plateau where wind turbines were present, a disruption tha cascaded down in the food chain and radically altered density and behavior of the birds.
In particular, the team saw an explosion in the raptors favorite meal ̵
1; fan-throated lizards – in areas dominated by turbines. 19659002] Furthermore, they saw significant changes in the behavior and appearance of the fate, which lived as if they were in a substantial predator-free environment.
“What was remarkable to us was the subtle changes in the behaviors, morphology and physiology of these lizards, says Maria Thaker, deputy professor at the Indian Institute for Science Sciences and Leadership Sciences.
When the raptors’ levels fell around the turbines as well, the team found that lizards living in and around wind farms had reduced their vigilance to possible dangers.
Simulate “predatory attacks”, people in the study piece, ld get up to five times closer to a lizard in wind power zones than one who lives from turbines before the creatures fled.
After testing, the lizards near turbines were shown to have lower levels of stress hormone – something that must have occurred during the two decades since wind farms were built in Western Ghats. 19659002] Wind turbines are known to be harmful to birds interfering their migration patterns and cause above average mortality rates.
Thaker said she had investigated, published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, that wind farms replicated the role of the chief carnivore in the food chain by keeping the raptors wild.
“They trigger animal balance changes in an ecosystem as if they were” they are the predators “predators, not in the sense that they kill them but by reducing the presence of predators in these areas.”
Because they artificial carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise, Tha ker said that wind energy was crucial for mitigating the effects of climate change.
But with evidence that the effects of wind turbines reach beyond the Earth’s ecosystems earlier, she believed that greater environmental impacts were taken from the vital green energy source.
“It took decades for researchers to realize that wind turbines affect animals flying,” says Thaker.
“We must be wise about using green energy solutions. Let’s reduce our footprint on the planet and place turbines in places that are already disturbed in some way – for example, on buildings. “