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  • 1.
    Skarin, Anna
    et al.
    Swedish Univ Agr Sci, Dept Anim Nutr & Management, Uppsala.
    Nellemann, Christian
    GRID Arendal, United Nations Environm Programme, Lillehammer, Norway..
    Rönnegård, Lars
    Dalarna University, School of Technology and Business Studies, Statistics.
    Sandstrom, Per
    Swedish Univ Agr Sci, Dept Forest Resource Management, Umea, Sweden.
    Lundqvist, Henrik
    Swedish Univ Agr Sci, Dept Anim Nutr & Management, Uppsala, Sweden.
    Wind farm construction impacts reindeer migration and movement corridors2015In: Landscape Ecology, ISSN 0921-2973, E-ISSN 1572-9761, Vol. 30, no 8, p. 1527-1540Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Over the last decade, we have seen a massive increase in the construction of wind farms in northern Fennoscandia. Wind farms comprising hundreds of wind turbines are being built, with little knowledge of the possible cumulative adverse effects on the habitat use and migration of semi-domesticated free-ranging reindeer. We assessed how reindeer responded to wind farm construction in an already fragmented landscape, with specific reference to the effects on use of movement corridors and reindeer habitat selection. We used GPS-data from reindeer during calving and post-calving in the MalAyen reindeer herding community in Sweden. We analysed data from the pre-development years compared to the construction years of two relatively small wind farms. During construction of the wind farms, use of original migration routes and movement corridors within 2 km of development declined by 76 %. This decline in use corresponded to an increase in activity of the reindeer measured by increased step lengths within 0-5 km. The step length was highest nearest the development and declining with distance, as animals moved towards migration corridors and turned around or were observed in holding patterns while not crossing. During construction, reindeer avoided the wind farms at both regional and landscape scale of selection. The combined construction activities associated with even a few wind turbines combined with power lines and roads in or close to central movement corridors caused a reduction in the use of such corridors and grazing habitat and increased the fragmentation of the reindeer calving ranges.

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