Wind power and land mammals

Wind power and land mammals

There are a lot of observations of game animals and other mammals in wind farms. According to the observations, the use of wind turbines does not disturb their behaviour, but so far there are only a few research results on the impacts of wind power on land mammals in Finland. In places, the improved road network has enhanced the conditions for hunting, but it is not a question of a direct impact of wind power on the living conditions of mammals.

Kuva: Marja Anttonen

WINDLIFE project

The Natural Resources Centre Finland (Luke) has launched the project The occurrence of forest animals and use of habitats in the vicinity of wind power areas (WINDLIFE), which is to be implemented in 2023-2028 with joint funding from Luke and 14 wind power companies. During the five-year monitoring project, Luke will investigate the impacts of wind power on wolves, Finnish forest reindeer, and eagles. As directive species, they must be given special attention in the planning of wind power and other land use. Directive species are so-called species of Community interest selected from the EU area, as referred to in the Annexes of the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive, as well as their habitats.

The project also studies the impacts of wind power on reindeer and reindeer husbandry, and on the costs of reindeer husbandry. Furthermore, impacts on deer and hunting will be investigated with the aid of data recorded on hunting events and surveys. The objective of the project is to increase knowledge and produce guidelines to be able to take the habitat requirements of the species now under review into account even better in the siting of wind turbines.


When planning wind farms in Lapland, the views of the reindeer-owners’ associations are heard in the siting of wind turbines, as just over one-third of Finland’s land area is a reindeer management area. Reindeer husbandry is based on the free grazing right and extensive harmonised grazing areas. Other forms of land use pose a threat to the future of reindeer husbandry because they reduce and fragment grazing areas and disturb grazing peace. At the same time, there is a lot of pressure to install wind power in the entire area of Finland, also in the north in the reindeer management area, due to the need to increase Finland’s energy self-sufficiency and carbon-neutral electricity production.

Reindeer husbandry and the wind power sector have joined forces in accepting the challenge and drawing up an operating model (in Finnish) on the best practices to take reindeer husbandry into account in the different phases of the life cycle of a wind power project, from the tentative investigations in the initial stage to the completion of the production phase. It is key to build and maintain trust and good interaction from as early as possible. There are differences in the reindeer husbandry methods, for example, between southern and northern areas and between individual reindeer owners’ associations. There are also differences in Finland’s methods of reindeer husbandry compared to other countries. Therefore, it is important to learn about the local operating environment.