Hilton G.M.,Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust |
Cuthbert R.J.,Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Ibis | Year: 2010
The UK has sovereignty over 16 Overseas Territories, which hold some of the world's great seabird colonies and collectively support more endemic and globally threatened bird species than the whole of mainland Europe. Invasive alien mammalian predators have spread throughout most of the Territories, primarily since European expansion in the 16th century. Here we review and synthesize the scale of their impacts, historical and current, actions to reduce and reverse these impacts, and priorities for conservation. Mammalian predators have caused a catastrophic wave of extinctions and reductions in seabird colony size that mark the UKOTs as a major centre of global extinction. Mammal-induced declines of threatened endemics and seabird colonies continue, with four Critically Endangered endemics on Gough Island (Tristan da Cunha), St Helena and Montserrat directly threatened by invasive alien House Mice Mus musculus, Feral Cats Felis catus and rats Rattus spp. Action to reduce these threats and restore islands has been modest in comparison with other developed countries, although some notable successes have occurred and a large number of ambitious eradication and conservation plans are in preparation. Priority islands for conservation action against mammalian predators include Gough (which according to one published prioritization scheme is the highest-ranked island in the world for mammal eradication), St Helena and Montserrat, but also on Tristan da Cunha, Pitcairn and the Falkland Islands. Technical, financial and political will is required to push forward and fund the eradication of invasive mammalian predators on these islands, which would significantly reduce extinction risk for a number of globally threatened species. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 British Ornithologists' Union. Source
Langston R.H.W.,Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Wildlife Society Bulletin | Year: 2013
Wind-energy generation is expanding globally, largely in response to climate change predictions, in an attempt to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. The increasing demand for locations with suitable wind resource places pressure on bird species and sites of conservation importance. Our understanding of the effects of wind-energy generation on birds is growing, but ambitious targets for wind-energy production mean that we need to apply best available information in smarter ways now, refining our approaches as evidence accrues. This applies especially to the offshore "windrush," which is taking place in Europe, notably the United Kingdom, which currently leads the world in installed capacity offshore. This paper presents UK experience and European studies, onshore and offshore, to consider lessons learned, especially in view of the fledgling offshore industry in the USA. © 2013 The Wildlife Society. Source
From what may have been the greenest solar farm ever to Ecotricity's efforts to promote bee-friendly solar installations, UK solar developers have already been making great strides to ensure that large-scale solar doesn't come at the expense of natural wildlife habitat. Now a partnership between the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and solar developer Anesco is aiming to contribute to this trend, using the land in and around solar farms to promote biodiversity and protect threatened species. Initially, the partnership will involve RSPB experts visiting a number of Anesco’s solar farm sites to make recommendations on how they can be further enhanced to the benefit those wildlife groups deemed to be under the most serious threat. Anesco will then take these recommendations into account to develop biodiversity management plans for all new solar farm sites that it builds. Darren Moorcroft, the RSPB’s Head of Species and Habitats Conservation, framed the effort as a way to prove that renewable energy can and should be developed in a way that doesn't just avoid negative impacts, but creates positive ones too: “Over the next few years we will be working with Anesco to further improve the habitats created at their solar farm sites across the UK. It is an excellent opportunity to develop habitats for nature in need of our help, showcasing how a renewable energy business and wildlife conservation can be delivered in unison; whilst providing clean energy and sustainable development we can still continue to give nature a home.” RSPB has long been an advocate for clean energy and action on climate change. Indeed, anti-wind groups were somewhat incensed by the group's decision to install a gigantic wind turbine at its headquarters. Yet while the charity has opposed wind developments it considered to be a threat to birds, the turbine project was intended to demonstrate that the urgency of tackling climate change is such that sensitively sited renewable energy developments should be a priority for anyone interested in the protection of the environment. Now RSPB's efforts to green up the solar industry may serve a similar purpose. While anti-renewables groups have been squabbling about "big solar" gobbling up land, research has shown that solar farms can sequester carbon and promote biodiversity if they are sensitively and appropriately managed. Maybe we can have our birdseed cake and eat it too.
News Article | August 22, 2016
In early 2016, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) installed a large wind turbine at their headquarters in central England. The 100-meter (330-foot) tall turbine was installed at the Society’s headquarters in Sandy midway between Milton Keynes and Cambridge.
Way back in June of 2012, the UK's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) announced that it would install a 100 meter high wind turbine to help cut its carbon emissions and impact on the natural world. Unsurprisingly, anti-wind turbine groups were not entirely pleased. After all, the turbines-as-bird-blenders argument has become a staple of every anti-wind farm campaign group everywhere. Now, after 3 more years of development and study, the RSPB is moving ahead with installation. According to Business Green, the turbine will be up and running within the next two weeks, and the charity is predicting that this turbine alone will reduce the organization's carbon emissions by some 800 tonnes, and meet around half of its annual electricity needs. The move is part of a much broader push that includes energy efficiency improvements, solar arrays and biomass boilers—all intended to help meet a target of 80% emissions cuts by 2050 at the latest. Of course, any industrial development in the countryside is likely to have an impact on wildlife, and it seems likely that this impact may include bird strikes. But wind energy developers have been working to reduce bird kill impacts compared to early installations—as evidenced by Google's recent announcement of bird-friendly upgrades to an iconic 1980s wind farm. What's significant about the RSPB announcement is the fact that one of the world's preeminent bird protection charity's is putting its weight behind carefully sited wind development, and reminding everyone that the largest threat to our birdlife, and wildlife in general, is the threat of global climate change. Interestingly, the RSPB is also working with the company installing this turbine, Ecotricity, on their anaerobic digestion "green gas" mills, making sure that the land used for feedstocks becomes a haven for birds and other wildlife and providing an overall win-win in terms of both carbon emissions and biodiversity.