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Reindeer spatial use before, during and after construction of a wind farm

By Diress Tsegaye, Jonathan E. Colman, Sindre Eftestøl, Kjetil Flydal, Gunnlaug Røthe, Kåre Rapp

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The Fakken Wind farm (WF) was built in 2010–12 on the Fakken peninsula on the south-east corner of the island of Vannøy. Field and GPS sampling was conducted to test the interaction between reindeer spatial use and the WF with associated infrastructure for the period 2007–2015. “Before data” for both direct observations and GPS-positions confirmed that the site where the WF was built was an important winter grazing area for reindeer. Testing data from before, during and after construction of the WF showed that the overall use on the island and for the WF area did not change during the study period. The reindeer density did not vary significantly among the periods, both for the WF and power line areas. We found no avoidance responses on reindeer spatial use towards the WF during the operation periods for direct observation data. However, we found some significant changes in reindeer area use that may be related to disturbance from human activities for the calving period during construction in WF zone 1 and road zone 1 (GPS-data), and for the power line area during construction in summer and autumn (direct observational data). Our study site represents an area where coexistence of reindeer husbandry and wind energy development is possible, with negligible effects on reindeer spatial use during and after WF development. We recommend that new WFs should be built close to existing infrastructure and limit an increase in human accessibility to remote areas where reindeer are less accustomed to human activity.

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 195
Pages 103-111
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Avoidance
  2. Deer
  3. Power