Successfully implemented project on the conflict management between wind energy development and birds and bats protection (VENBIS)
Since February 2015, the Lithuanian Ornithological Society (LOD) in cooperation with the partners – Coastal Research and Planning Institute (CORPI) and Lithuanian Energy Institute (LEI) was implementing the project “Development of wind energy and territories important to biodiversity” (VENBIS), which was financed by the EEA grants, project partners as well as national contribution.
Project objectives were:
- To identify the most valuable/sensitive areas for biodiversity and potential conflict areas for the wind energy (WE);development,
- To develop measures for protection of such territories and conflict management in the field of WE development;
- To prepare recommendations for conflicts management of WE development in the sensitive biodiversity areas on local and national level.
Seeking to decrease the risk of the WE development on the biodiversity, in the period of two years, the project partners identified the most important areas for birds and bats. A dozen of experienced ornithologists performed observations in the most perspective areas for WE development all over the country. These territories, based on numerous factors, including wind, possibility to connect WE power plants to the joint electricity network, territorial planning documents, legislation etc. were identified by the LEI scientists. The project did not cover Baltic Sea and Curonian spit. The research focused on the big conglomerations of birds, including migrating, breeding and wintering periods, as well as feeding sites. In parallel the scientists were seeking for the migration corridors of birds of prey as well as bats, as the information was very limited in this field. A special attention was paid to the Special Protected Areas (SPAs), in particular designated in the agricultural landscape.
During the first year a lot of new information about the breeding, feeding and migrating areas of birds and bats was collected. Thousands of data were entered into the special online data storage application – 1400 records about migrating birds, 3500 records about conglomerations of the migrating birds, 4260 records about breeding birds, 1100 records about wintering places.
In the field research of bats, a new technology was applied – with the help of special detector with a software more than 7100 records about distribution of bats all over the country were collected. The most important finding of the project – a new species of bats have been registered in Lithuania during the field research - Greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis). This species is included into the list of protected species in the EU Habitats Directive. In total greater mouse-eared bat has been detected in 33 places all over the country. The field research also gave very valuable information about abundance and distribution of other bat species – 299 records of Pond bat (Myotis dasycneme), 129 of Barbastelle (Barbastella barbastellus), 1142 of Northern bat (Eptesicus nilssonii), 263 of Soprano pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pygmaeus) were collected during the project implementation time.
All data of the field observations, gathered during the project, are available on the website. The project activities also involved mapping of the most sensitive areas for birds and bats. This tool shall prevent the conflict situations between WE sector and environment. Based on the research in the already functioning WE power plant parks, the scientists also prepared recommendations, how to decrease the impact of WE development for the biodiversity, in particular for birds and bats. This document has been discussed in the joint meetings of representatives of WE sector, officials and scientists.
During the project prolongation until April 2017, additional methodologies have been prepared.
More about the project and its achievements please find on the websites of the project partners: