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Journal Articles Biological Conservation Year : 2024

Context-dependent effects of wind turbines on bats in rural landscapes


Rural landscapes are undergoing widespread changes, of which homogenization and the installation of wind turbines are important components. To keep track of the impacts of homogenization and the presence of wind turbines on biodiversity, the responses of vulnerable organisms should be assessed considering their combined effects. We have tested the response of bat activity to the interaction between agricultural landscape gradients reflecting the degree of homogenization (parcel size, parcel diversity and density of hedges), and the presence of wind turbines. To do this, we combined acoustic sampling data gathered from 2014 to 2020 throughout continental France with land use and wind turbine siting data. GLMMs showed that each echolocation guild (LRE: long, MRE: mid, and SRE: short-range echolocators) responded to different gradients. Increasing parcel sizes and lower densities of hedges correlated negatively with the activity of MRE and SRE bats. Activity of LRE and SRE bats was lower, and that of MRE bats (mostly Common Pipistrelles Pipistrellus pipistrellus) was higher, when wind turbines were present. In landscapes containing wind turbines, hedge density correlated positively with LRE activity, and parcel diversity fostered SRE activity. Therefore, increasing hedge densities, or dividing large monocultures into more diverse cropland configurations, may compensate for negative effects of wind turbine presence on bat activity. Siting of new wind turbines should still avoid high-quality locations were bat activity and diversity are currently high, as the negative impact is bound to include not only habitat loss, but also enhanced mortality by collision.
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hal-04642174 , version 1 (09-07-2024)




Alejandro Sotillo, Isabelle Le Viol, Kévin Barré, Yves Bas, Christian Kerbiriou. Context-dependent effects of wind turbines on bats in rural landscapes. Biological Conservation, 2024, 295, pp.110647. ⟨10.1016/j.biocon.2024.110647⟩. ⟨hal-04642174⟩
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