The effects of wind power to forest animals are investigated in an extensive joint project of the Natural Resources Institute Finland and the wind power industry
The effects of wind power to forest animals are not yet widely known, but in the joint project of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) and Finnish wind power industry operators, which has now started, the effects on so-called directive species, i.e. wolves, reindeer and birds of prey, will be investigated. The project also maps hunters’ views and experiences of the effects of wind power on hunting.
In the five-year research project of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) and operators in the Finnish wind power industry, the presence of forest animals and the use of habitats in the vicinity of wind turbines (WINDLIFE) investigates the effects of wind power not only on wolves, reindeer and birds of prey, but also on reindeer husbandry and the costs of reindeer husbandry.
The project will be implemented in the years 2023–2027 and its goal is to produce guidelines with which the habitat requirements of the species that are the subject of research can be better taken into account when locating wind turbines.
The wind power industry wants to be involved in enabling research
The construction of wind turbines and the production of wind power can have both negative and positive effects on wild animal species. For one species, a wind farm area can mean, for example, a reduction in habitat and reduced breeding opportunities, while for another species a change in habitat can bring a competitive advantage, for example, by increasing the availability of food.
So far, however, very little research information has been available on the effects of wind power on wild species. Domestic studies are completely missing from the species that are the subject of the research project that has just been started.
“All construction has its own environmental effects, but with careful planning they can be minimized – however, this requires factual information about the effects. It is important that the effects of wind power are now investigated more widely in Finland, and it is great that we can participate as an industry in enabling important research”, says Anni Mikkonen, CEO of the Finnish Wind Power Association.
Natural Resources Institute Finland acts as the project implementer and responsible party, financing the project together with 14 companies in the wind power sector. Finnish Wind Power Association has been involved in starting the project and is involved in the steering group to be established for the project, which also consists of representatives of Luke, wind power operators and other stakeholders.
In all his research activities, Luke is committed to the principles of good scientific practice of the Research Ethics Advisory Board, conducting research independently and responsibly, following high scientific ethics. The results of the research will be published in scientific publications and will therefore also be openly available.