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Demographic and potential biological removal models identify raptor species sensitive to current and future wind energy

July 11, 2022

A central challenge in applied ecology is understanding the effect of anthropogenic fatalities on wildlife populations and predicting which populations may be particularly vulnerable and in greatest need of management attention. We used 3 approaches to investigate potential effects of fatalities from collisions with wind turbines on 14 raptor species for both current (106 GW) and anticipated future (241 GW) levels of installed wind energy capacity in the United States. Our goals were to identify species at relatively high vs low risk of experiencing population declines from turbine collisions and to also compare results generated from these approaches. Two of the approaches used a calculated turbine-caused mortality rate to decrement population growth, where population trends were derived either from the North American Breeding Bird Survey or a matrix model parameterized from literature-derived demographic values. The third approach was potential biological removal, which estimates the number of fatalities that allow a population to reach and maintain its optimal sustainable population set by management objectives