Energy generation for consumption by a growing human population affects wildlife conservation in complex and fascinating ways. Fuel and electricity are basic human needs in society today, necessitating energy expansion that affects land resources for wildlife habitat. Renewable technologies—including bioenergy, solar and wind energy, and waterpower—provide alternatives to fossil fuels, which generate greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change. Yet, just how “green” renewable energy is for wildlife is a topic of interest. Indeed, public discourse regarding the benefits of renewable energy technologies often hinges on debates about effects on wildlife. The interface between renewable energy development and wildlife conservation is rich with stimulating scientific questions and interesting research stories. Ultimately, our actions at the nexus of renewable energy development and wildlife conservation must be directed by current, science-based information related to ecological effects of renewable energy production.
Renewable Energy and Wildlife Conservation (edited by Drs. Christopher Moorman, Steve Grodsky, and Susan Rupp) synthesizes an extensive, rapidly growing base of scientific literature and theory into a single, comprehensive resource for wildlife ecologists, university students, policy makers, industry, and non-governmental organizations. The book is structured around the following major renewable energy technologies: 1) bioenergy, 2) wind energy, and 3) solar energy and waterpower. Under each section, subject matter experts describe processes to generate renewable energy, review documented effects on wildlife, provide mitigation strategies to lessen effects on wildlife, and identify research needs related to wildlife conservation. Each chapter includes a ‘Deep Dive’ highlighting, in detail, potential wildlife impacts, research efforts, and mitigation strategies to conserve wildlife affected by renewable energy development. Following a chapter on current and future policy directives, the book culminates with a final synthesis chapter highlighting consistent themes of the book, emerging opportunities, and recommendations for future research related to renewable energy and wildlife conservation.
Christopher Moorman is Professor, University Faculty Scholar, and Coordinator of the Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology Program at North Carolina State University. His teaching and research activities focus on issues related to global change and wildlife conservation.
Steve Grodsky is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of California, Davis and Founder/Co-director of the Wild Energy Initiative housed within the John Muir Institute of the Environment. His research focuses on effects of renewable energy development on plants, animals, and wildlife-habitat relationships.
Susan Rupp is CEO of Enviroscapes Ecological Consulting, LLC, based in northwest Arkansas. Her work largely focuses on the effects of bioenergy production on wildlife and wildlife habitat. She was recently nominated by the U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture and Energy to serve a 3-year term on the Biomass Research Development Technical Advisory Committee, which provides recommendations and oversight to senior officials regarding the technical focus, direction, and proper use of funds authorized through the Biomass Research Development Initiative (BRDI).