, Volume 18, Issue 8, pp 2033-2041
Date: 11 Jan 2009

Using probability of occurrence to assess potential interaction between wind farms and a residual population of golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos in NW Spain

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Abstract

We evaluate the areas with potential negative impacts in a golden eagle population derived of the development of wind farms. At present, the entire golden eagle Galician population (5–6 pairs) is located within an area of about 2,000 km2. Grid squares of 10 × 10 km UTM in the province were scored for current and future wind turbine density and probability of occurrence of golden eagle. This probability was obtained using cartographic models of habitat selection for two different historic periods. Potential risk index (PRI) was calculated for each grid square by multiplying the wind turbine density score by the probability of occurrence score. With the PRIs obtained a cartographic model of potential impact of wind farms on the golden eagle population was constructed. No significant correlation was observed between current wind turbine density and the probability of occurrence of golden eagle. A significant positive correlation was observed between current and future wind turbine density and the probability of occurrence of golden eagle. The areas with highest potential risk are eastern and the central mountains of Ourense where the species breeds. The risk model presented could be applied to future wind farm proposals and monitor potential interactions of golden eagles with wind farms in the Province of Ourense.