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Introducing a New Avian Sensitivity Mapping Tool to Support the Siting of Wind Farms and Power Lines in the Middle East and Northeast Africa

Abstract

The risk to certain soaring bird species posed by poorly-sited wind turbines and power lines is now well established, and badly planned operations can prove both environmentally and financially costly. Consequently, wind energy developers, governments and other stakeholder groups urgently need access to accurate ornithological information to better inform the planning process. This is particularly true in parts of the Middle East and Northeast Africa where a rapidly expanding wind energy sector coincides with a globally significant soaring bird migration route—the Rift Valley/Red Sea Flyway. Unfortunately, relevant data for this region has often been difficult to obtain and interpret. To address this problem, BirdLife International, working with its network of regional partners, has launched the Soaring Bird Sensitivity Mapping Tool, an online tool providing detailed information on the distribution of soaring bird species along the flyway. By providing and interpreting this information, it is hoped that the tool will become an essential instrument in the environmentally sound expansion of wind energy in the region.

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Acknowledgements

The Soaring Bird Sensitivity Mapping Tool has been developed as part of the Migratory Soaring Birds Project, an initiative supported by The Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The project is coordinated by the Regional Flyway Facility (RFF) with support from BirdLife’s regional offices in Amman (Jordan) and Nairobi (Kenya) and oversight by the BirdLife Global Secretariat in Cambridge (UK). Fundamental to this project are BirdLife’s national partners in the region: Association Djibouti Nature, Nature Conservation Egypt, The Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society, Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, Republic of Lebanon Ministry of Environment, Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon, Palestine Wildlife Society, Saudi Wildlife Authority, The Sudanese Wildlife Society, Syrian Society for Conservation of Wildlife, Foundation for Endangered Wildlife (Yemen).

The tool was built by Habitat INFO (www.habitatinfo.com) using the ESRI ArcGIS Server platform (www.esri.com).

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Correspondence to Tristram Allinson .

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Allinson, T. (2017). Introducing a New Avian Sensitivity Mapping Tool to Support the Siting of Wind Farms and Power Lines in the Middle East and Northeast Africa. In: Köppel, J. (eds) Wind Energy and Wildlife Interactions. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51272-3_12

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