Authors of report on bird declines say intensive farming and pesticides could turn Europe’s farmland into a desert that ultimately imperils all humans (OUR NOTE: add industrial wind turbines to the travail)
Wed 21 Mar 2018 15.31
According to the survey, the disappearance of farmland species intensified in the last decade, and again over the last two summers.
Thriving generalist species such as wood pigeons, blackbirds and chaffinches – which also breed in urban areas and woodlands – are increasing nationally but even they are decreasing on farmland, which has led researchers to identify changing farming practices as the cause of big declines.
Insect fatalities at wind turbines as biodiversity sinks
Christian C. Voigt
Evidence is accumulating that insects are frequently killed by operating wind
turbines, yet it is poorly understood if these fatalities cause population declines
and changes in assemblage structures on various spatial scales. Current observations suggest that mostly hill-topping, swarming, and migrating insects interact with wind turbines. Recently, the annual loss of insect biomass at wind turbines was estimated for Germany to amount 1,200 t for the plant growth period, which equates to about 1.2 trillion killed insects per year, assuming 1 mg insect body mass. Accordingly, a single turbine located in the temperate zone might kill about 40 million insects per year. Furthermore, Scheimpflug Lidar measurements at operating wind turbines confirm a high insect activity in the risk zone of turbines. These numbers and observations are alarming, yet they require further consolidation, particularly across all continents and climate zones where wind energy industry is expanding.
We need to understand (a) how attraction of insects to wind turbines affect fatality rates
and interactions of insect predators with wind turbines. (b) We have to connect
insect fatalities at wind turbines with source populations and evaluate if these
fatalities add to the decline of insect populations and potentially the extinction
of species. (c) We need to assess how fatalities at wind turbines change insect mediated ecosystem services. An ever-growing global wind energy industry with high densities of wind turbines may have long-lasting effects on insects and associated trophic links if negative impacts on insects are not considered during the erection and operation of wind turbines.
The loss of insect life from the food chain would not just be catastrophic for wildlife. It would also have direct consequences for the human food supply. Most Europeans and North Americans are repulsed by the prospect of eating insects, which is odd, since we happily consume prawns (which are broadly similar, being segmented, and with an external skeleton). Our ancient ancestors would certainly have eaten insects and, globally, eating insects is the norm. Roughly 80% of the world’s population regularly consume them, with the practice very common in South America, Africa and Asia, and among the indigenous peoples of Oceania.