Avian Wind Farm Sensitivity Map for South Africa

Filed under: Studies |

Criteria and Procedures Used

During the Endangered Wildlife Trust-BirdLife South Africa Wind Energy Workshop held in Cape Town on 26 August 2010, the need for the development of an Avian Wind Farm Sensitivity Map for South Africa was identified. The purpose of the map would be to provide an indication of the geographic areas in South Africa where the establishment of wind farms might have a negative impact on birds. Such a map would identify areas of bird sensitivity in terms of the potential threats the wind energy development would have on a number of identified vulnerable species. At the Wind Energy Infrastructure Workshop, hosted by the Department of Environmental Affairs on 7 September 2010, it was conclusively agreed that such a sensitivity map would be of value in informing decision making, both for government and industry. This idea is also supported in the
available international literature. For example, Madders and Whitfield stated “The location of a wind farm is one of the few certainties known to affect the impact of a wind energy scheme on birds….Therefore spatial models that attempt to predict areas of greatest sensitivity for birds at the landscape scale can be useful design tools, enabling developments to be located so as to minimize the potential effects on identified key species”

  • This document sets out to achieve the following:
    Indicate possible factors, both site and species specific, that were considered when designing the sensitivity map; and
  • Discuss the design of the map itself, for example the sensitivity levels that would be used for the map, colours to indicate these levels, etc.

However it should be made clear that this map must not replace pre- and post-construction bird
monitoring or Environmental Impact Assessment studies. This map is a general attempt to provide
guidelines to all role players where to place wind farms. At most, the map can provide guidance as
to the effort required in terms of bird monitoring.

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Download all Avian Wind Farm Sensitivity Map Documentation:


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