Wind Turbines Mince Bats
Economic Importance of Bats in Agriculture
Justin G. Boyles, Paul M. Cryan, Gary F. McCracken, and Thomas H. Kunz
White-nose syndrome (WNS) and the increased development of wind-power facilities are threatening populations of insectivorous bats in North America. Bats are voracious predators of nocturnal insects, including many crop and forest pests. We present here analyses suggesting that loss of bats in North America could lead to agricultural losses estimated at more than $3.7 billion/year. Urgent efforts are needed to educate the public and policy-makers about the ecological and economic importance of insectivorous bats and to provide practical conservation solutions.
Wind turbines are apparently killing migratory bats as well—by 2020, an estimated 33,000 to 111,000 bats are predicted to be killed by turbines in the mid-Atlantic Highlands alone. The authors in the Science paper worry that as wind power ramps up in the U.S., more bats will end up pureed by the blades.