Do wind turbines impact plant community properties in mountain region?
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The emergence of renewable energy infrastructures calls for a better understanding of their impact on biodiversity. The aim of the present study was to investigate in a mountain region the impact of a wind turbine on plant communities in their vicinity. A field survey was conducted in a wind farm situated in the Southern Romanian Carpathians, five years after the turbines were installed. We tested for the effects of the presence of the turbine and the distance to the turbine on plant species richness, on five plant ecological indicators and on the quality of the pastures. Overall, 33 plant species belonging to 16 families were recorded, and among them 21 were recorded in both the presence and the absence of wind turbine. The presence of a turbine did not affect the structure of the plant community, as the majority of the plots exhibited similar plant species richness and composition. Finally, the values of the ecological indicators and the pasture quality were not altered by the presence of the turbine. Such analyses could be extended over longer time periods so as to capture potential long-term effects and by integrating other environmental factors such as microclimatic conditions or soil properties.
KeywordsWind energy Mountain pasture Plant ecological indicators Pastoral value
This work was partially supported by the Swiss Enlargement Contribution in the framework of the Romanian-Swiss Research Programme, project WindLand, project code: IZERZO 142168/1 and 22 RO-CH/RSRP. We thank the reviewers for the very constructive comments.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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