Effects of overhead power-lines on the density of ground-nesting birds in open sub-arctic habitats

Aldís Erna Pálsdóttir*, Jennifer A. Gill, Snæbjörn Pálsson, José A. Alves, Verónica Méndez, Böðvar Þórisson, Tómas G. Gunnarsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Yearly electricity production has increased steadily worlwide in recent decades and the associated overhead power lines are widespread and occur across urban and natural habitats, and often in remote areas where there is little other anthropogenic influence. Here we assessed the effects of overhead power lines on the density of ground-nesting birds in the Icelandic lowlands, which host several populations of international importance. The combined breeding density of the eight study species increased significantly from ~ 112 birds/km2 close (< 50 m) to the power lines to ~ 177 birds/km2 away (450–500 m) from the power lines, with two of these species (Eurasian Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus and Common Redshank Tringa totanus) increasing significantly with distance from power lines and six species (European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria, Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago, Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis, Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa, Dunlin Calidris alpina and Redwing Turdus iliacus) showing no changes. These findings suggest that power lines can influence the breeding density of ground-nesting bird species in their vicinity and that accounting for such effects when planning future infrastructure will be imperative.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1257-1264
Number of pages8
JournalIbis
Volume164
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Natural Environment Research Council (Grant/Award Number: NE/M012549/1), The Nature Conservation Fund of Pálmi Jónsson, Science and Research Fund of South-Iceland, The Doctoral Grants of The University of Iceland Research Fund. This project was funded by The Doctoral Grants of The University of Iceland Research Fund as well as the Science and Research Fund of South-Iceland and The Nature Conservation Fund of Pálmi Jónsson. J.A.G. and V.M. were supported by NERC grant NE/M012549/1. J.A.A. was supported by CESAM via FCT/MCTES (UIDP/50017/2020+UIDB/50017/2020+ LA/P/0094/2020), through national funds. The authors would like to thank all the landowners who allowed data collection in their lands.

Funding Information:
Natural Environment Research Council (Grant/Award Number: NE/M012549/1), The Nature Conservation Fund of Pálmi Jónsson, Science and Research Fund of South‐Iceland, The Doctoral Grants of The University of Iceland Research Fund.

Funding Information:
This project was funded by The Doctoral Grants of The University of Iceland Research Fund as well as the Science and Research Fund of South‐Iceland and The Nature Conservation Fund of Pálmi Jónsson. J.A.G. and V.M. were supported by NERC grant NE/M012549/1. J.A.A. was supported by CESAM via FCT/MCTES (UIDP/50017/2020+UIDB/50017/2020+ LA/P/0094/2020), through national funds. The authors would like to thank all the landowners who allowed data collection in their lands.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Ibis published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Ornithologists' Union.

Other keywords

  • anthropogenic change
  • biodiversity
  • conservation
  • power lines
  • transmission lines
  • waders

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