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Volume 4 Special Volume: Wind Farms on Peatland (2008-2010): Article 2
Effects of wind farm construction and operation on mire and wet heath vegetation in the Monte Maior SCI, north-west Spain
by J. Fagúndez
Published online: 07.07.2008
As part of the environmental impact assessment for the construction of a wind farm within the Monte Maior Natura 2000 Site of Community Importance (SCI) in Galicia, north-west Spain, a complete analysis of the development site’s important mire and wet heath plant communities was performed. The study included phytosociological characterisation, species-area metrics, calculation of α and β diversity, and analysis of physiognomical characteristics such as life forms, distribution ranges and phenology. Permanent quadrats were monitored for three years after construction of the wind farm in order to identify and describe any changes in floristic composition. Two phytosociological associations were recognised in mire habitat, namely Eleocharitetum multicaulis (Litorelletea uniflorae) and Carici durieui-Sphagnetum papillosi subas. ericetosum mackaianae (Oxycocco-Sphagnetea), whilst the wet heath was assigned to Gentiano pneumonanthe-Ericetum mackaianae (Calluno-Ulicetea). The two plant communities shared most physiognomical characteristics and 13–33% of species. Low values were obtained for α and β diversity, with about nine species per square metre for heathland and ten species per square metre for mire habitat. Hemicryptophytes dominated and no therophytes were recorded. The dominant plant families were Poaceae in heathlands and Cyperaceae in mires, and most of the species flowered in early or late summer. Both communities were stable and no change in any of the attributes investigated was observed during the study period. The results indicate that, so long as the traditional land use of low-intensity grazing can be maintained, there are no major hazards for these plant communities. However, some of the data suggest that the improvement of access to the area provided by the wind farm may result in an increase in human activity which could affect environmental conditions and thus the longer-term stability of the plant communities.
Fagúndez, J. (2008): Effects of wind farm construction and operation on mire and wet heath vegetation in the Monte Maior SCI, north-west Spain. Mires and Peat 4: Art. 2. (Online: http://www.mires-and-peat.net/pages/volumes/map04/map0402.php)
IMCG and IPS acknowledge the work of the reviewers.