Executive Summary

Most bat species in Québec are at risk owing, among other things, to the human-induced threats facing bat populations. Wind energy development is one of those threats. This document presents a review of the literature, with several objectives. First of all, we document the extent and impacts of bat collisions in wind farms in North America and Québec and we explain certain methodological biases that could affect mortality estimates. Then, we identify the factors that influence bat mortality in wind farms as well as the mitigation measures tested to date which have proven effective in reducing this mortality. Finally, we present a review of the application of the mitigation measures used in certain jurisdictions of North America.

According to the estimates in the literature, bat collisions with wind turbines total tens (even hundreds) of thousands of individuals a year in North America. However, it is difficult to compare wind energy projects among themselves, since the estimation of bat and bird mortality rates in wind farms is complex and evolving rapidly. These numbers are estimated based on carcass counts, corrected by an overall detection probability, which takes into account the area sampled, detection efficiency and carcass persistence. In 2016, we counted no less than three generations of estimators that have been applied to resolve this mathematical problem, with mixed success. Despite some uncertainty associated with mortality estimates, most authors agree that the main factor influencing bat activity, and therefore collisions with wind turbines, is wind speed. Bats are more active on nights with low wind speed (less than 6 m/s), and mortality rates are higher at these times.
Of the various mitigation measures studied, adjusting turbine cut-in speed is currently the only one that is clearly effective in reducing the number of bats killed while entailing relatively low implementation costs. Raising the cut-in threshold of wind turbines to 5 m/s reduced the number of bat mortalities by half, and raising the threshold to 6.5 m/s eliminated most collisions. Adjusting the cut-in speed caused financial losses equivalent to less than 1% of the annual production of wind power. Despite the scientific consensus on the effectiveness of this measure in reducing the number of bat collisions with wind turbines, it is not applied consistently. For example, Maine and Vermont have made it mandatory to increase the turbine cut-in speed in all their wind farms. Elsewhere in the United States, the members of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) voluntarily increase turbine cut-in speed during bats’ fall migration. Other jurisdictions, such as Ontario and Alberta, use a mortality threshold to initiate the shutdown of certain wind turbines.

In conclusion, the development of wind power poses a threat to bats, several species of which are at risk. For installed or operational wind turbines, mitigation measures such as raising the cut-in speed, shutdown or feathering during critical periods make it possible to significantly reduce bat mortality, while entailing relatively low implementation costs.

  • Lemaître et al. 2017. Bat Mortality Caused by Wind Turbines: Review of Impacts and Mitigation Measures. Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs, Québec City, 26 p. [PDF]





Naciones Unidas ha declarado el año 2011 como AÑO INTERNACIONAL DE LOS BOSQUES, con el lema Bosques para la Gente.

España puede presumir de ser uno de los países europeos con mayor biodiversidad de bosques y de especies de árboles. Muchos de ellos tienen características especiales que les hacen destacar del resto y los hacen especialmente singulares. Dar a conocer su importancia, los problemas y peligros que presentan o pueden presentar, y la necesidad de su protección son los principales objetivos del proyecto didáctico “CUENTOS DESDE EL BOSQUE”. 

En la actualidad existen numerosas publicaciones relativas a los árboles y los bosques españoles, pero aún son muy escasas las destinadas especialmente al público infantil. La realización de labores de educación y sensibilización ambiental para niños centradas en los árboles y los bosques es de gran importancia para asegurar su conservación en un futuro, pues ellos serán los encargados de poner en marcha las medidas necesarias para conseguirlo. 

Los niños deben conocer la importancia del patrimonio arbóreo español de una forma amena y divertida. Por ello, y teniendo como telón de fondo la celebración del AÑO INTERNACIONAL DE LOS BOSQUES, se ha estimado adecuado proporcionar a los padres y educadores un material didáctico, que en forma de cuentos ilustrados con los árboles y los bosques como protagonistas, transmitan a los más pequeños la importancia de su conservación. 

Estos cuentos van acompañados de una serie de actividades para hacer a los niños más participes de su lectura, ayudándoles a afianzar y profundizar en los conocimientos, sentimientos y valores transmitidos en ellos. 

El proyecto consta de tres libros de cuentos destinados a niños entre los seis y los doce años, contando cada uno de los libros con cinco cuentos.

El apoyo de la Dirección General de Medio Natural y Política Forestal del Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Medio Rural y Marino ha permitido realizar una primera edición digital de los libros, que ahora presentamos también impresa. 

Esperamos que estos libros ayuden a padres y educadores a transmitir a los más pequeños el valor y la importancia de nuestro patrimonio natural. 

Susana Domínguez Lerena 
Presidenta de Bosques Sin Fronteras 

  • Domínguez, E. & Aloy, C. 2010. Cuentos de Árboles Gigantes. Cuentos desde el Bosque. Bosques Sin Fronteras-SDL Ediciones. 122 págs. [PDF]




Biological invasions with multiple consequences 

Invasive alien species (hereinafter IAS) constitute one of the main pressures weighing on biodiversity worldwide, similar to the destruction of natural habitats, overuse of resources, pollution and climate change. Introduced species, if and when they become invasive, induce multiple consequences, direct and/or indirect, affecting the native species, the functioning of natural habitats and the services provided by ecosystems, as well as economic activities and human health. Around the world, spanning different geographic scales and levels of intensity, IASs cause damage to ecosystems and the regression of native species. According to the latest estimates by the IUCN Red list of threatened species, these species represent a threat for almost one-third of the terrestrial species facing extinction and have been involved in half of all known extinctions (UICN France, 2015). Economically speaking, major negative consequences may result from biological invasions (Kettunen et al., 2009). The impacts causing economic losses for various economic players or for society as a whole may take on many different forms, e.g. lower agricultural yields, health costs, the costs incurred for the management in the field of invasive species, for the restoration of invaded natural environments, and damage to ecosystem services, though it is more difficult to quantify the latter. In terms of the health considerations, the many introduced species may threaten local fauna and flora, or even constitute a threat to human health. They may be allergenic, pathogenic or toxic, or they may carry pathogenic micro-organisms and viruses. 

  • IUCN French Committee. 2018. Making use of invasive alien species settled in natural environments. An effective approach to management? An initial analysis and discussion of points requiring attention. France. 84 pages.[PDF]





Electricity from wind energy is a major contributor to the strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel use and thus reduce the negative impacts of climate change. Wind energy, like all power sources, can have adverse impacts on wildlife. After nearly 25 years of focused research, these impacts are much better understood, although uncertainty remains. In this report, we summarize positive impacts of replacing fossil fuels with wind energy, while describing what we have learned and what remains uncertain about negative ecological impacts of the construction and operation of land-based and offshore wind energy on wildlife and wildlife habitat in the U.S. Finally, we propose research on ways to minimize these impacts.

  1. Environmental and other benefits of wind energy include near-zero greenhouse gas emissions, reductions of other common air pollutants, and little or no water use associated with producing electricity from wind energy. Various scenarios for meeting U.S. carbon emission reduction goals indicate that a four- to five-fold expansión of land-based wind energy from the current 97 gigawatts (GW) by the year 2050 is needed to minimize temperature increases and reduce the risk of climate change to people and wildlife.
  2. Collision fatalities of birds and bats are the most visible and measurable impacts of wind energy production. Current estimates suggest most bird species, especially songbirds, are at low risk of population-level impacts. Raptors as a group appear more vulnerable to collisions. Population-level impacts on migratory tree bats are a concern, and better information on population sizes is needed to evaluate potential impacts to these species. Although recorded fatalities of cave-dwelling bat species are typically low at most wind energy facilities, additional mortality from collisions is a concern given major declines in these species due to white-nose syndrome (WNS). Assessments of regional and cumulative fatality impacts for birds and bats have been hampered by the lack of data from areas with a high proportion of the nation’s installed wind energy capacity. Efforts to expand data accessibility from all regions are underway, and this greater access to data along with improvements in statistical estimators should lead to improved impact assessments.
  3. Habitat impacts of wind energy development are difficult to assess. An individual wind energy facility may encompass thousands of acres, but only a small percentage of the landscape within the project area is directly transformed. If a project is sited in previously undisturbed habitat, there is concern for indirect impacts, such as displacement of sensitive species. Studies to date indicate displacement of some species, but the long-term population impacts are unknown.
  4. Offshore wind energy development in the U.S. is just beginning. Studies at offshore wind facilities in Europe indicate some bird and marine mammal species are displaced from project areas, but substantial uncertainty exists regarding the individual or population-level impacts of this displacement. Bird and bat collisions with offshore turbines are thought to be less common than at terrestrial facilities, but currently the tools to measure fatalities at offshore wind energy facilities are not available.
The wind energy industry, state and federal agencies, conservation groups, academia, and scientific organizations have collaborated for nearly 25 years to conduct the research needed to improve our understanding of risk to wildlife and to avoid and minimize that risk. Efforts to reduce the uncertainty about wildlife risk must keep up with the pace and scale of the need to reduce carbon emissions. This will require focusing our research priorities and increasing the rate at which we incorporate research results into the development and validation of best practices for siting and operating wind energy facilities. We recommend continued focus on (1) species of regulatory concern or those where known or suspected population-level concern exists but corroborating data are needed, (2) research improving risk evaluation and siting to avoid impacts on species of concern or sensitive habitats, (3) evaluation of promising collision-reducing technologies and operational strategies with high potential for widespread implementation, and (4) coordinated research and data pooling to enable statistically robust analysis of infrequent, but potentially ecologically significant impacts for some species.

  • Allison et al. 2019. Impacts to Wildlife of Wind Energy Siting and Operation in the United States. Issues in Ecology. Report No 21. Fall 2019. [PDF]