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Renewable Energy positive and negative impacts on Biodiversity.

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Presentation on theme: "Renewable Energy positive and negative impacts on Biodiversity."— Presentation transcript:

1 Renewable Energy positive and negative impacts on Biodiversity

2 Changing habitat opportunities for farmland wildlife Energy crops are structurally very different from conventional crops Fewer applications of fertilisers and herbicides Impacts on biodiversity will depend on type of crop, land use being converted and management of crop

3 Energy grasses- Comparing Miscanthus with Reed Canary Grass Semere & Slater, 2005

4 Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) Miscanthus More open patches More weed cover More birds recorded More worms More large beetles, Spiders and Springtails Wheat Dense even cover Fewer weeds More skylarks More small beetles and flies

5 Impacts on biodiversity depend on management systems Roth et al (2005)

6 Short Rotation Coppice- potential positive impacts Several studies in last 15 years mostly in pre- commercial plots Sage & Robertson (1996) found similar birds in SRC to traditionally managed willow coppice In Sweden several bird species benefited from the planting of SRC

7 Willow Oak Birch Hawthorn Poplar 450 423 334 209 189 Scots pine Blackthorn Alder Elm Crab apple. False acacia 172 153 141 124 118 2 Kennedy & Southwood (1984):

8 DTI funded ARBRE study What is the wildlife potential of commercially managed SRC Compare 22 SRC fields with arable and grassland controls Plot size 5 - 27 ha, in central England. Four-year cycle Birds, plants and butterflies surveyed in all 44 plots throughout

9 Number of plant species in SRC & arable controls


11 BlackbirdBlue titChiffchaff* Willow warbler*ChaffinchGoldfinch Reed buntingDunnockBlackcap* WrenGreat titSong thrush Long tailed titRobinWhitethroat* Redwing**Snipe**Woodcock** * Summer migrant ** Wlnter only

12 Birds in large commercial SRC fields

13 Positive or negative impacts for open farmland species?

14 Some species may not benefit from planting SRC in the UK

15 Impacts on biodiversity depend on habitat being replaced

16 Good management practices will improve biodiversity value of the crop Avoid sites with existing value to wildlife Encourage mix of land-uses Headlands and rides Low inputs

17 Colonisation processes- how important is adjacent habitat Bird productivity Regional variations Enough about the impacts of intensively grown energy grasses What we don’t know:

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