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Volume 4 Special Volume: Wind Farms on Peatland (2008-2010): Article 4
Wind farms and mires in the Basque Country and north-west Navarra, Spain
by P. Heras and M. Infante
Published online: 07.07.2008
Mires occur in the Basque Country and north-west Navarra (northern Spain) due to the Atlantic influence on climate. They are most frequent in the north and become rarer to the south. True peatland is found at only six locations, but there are also some para-peaty habitats associated with springs and flushes which have very thin discontinuous peat layers. Although small, this mire territory straddles the boundary between two separate autonomous communities where different regulations and management guidelines apply. Both communities have developed extensive plans to exploit wind energy, and the summit ridges of many of the mountain ranges now carry long strings of turbines. Consequences for the Basque and Navarran mire ecosystems are reviewed. Because little is known about these habitats, they went largely unnoticed during the process of wind farm planning and were thus exposed to enormous risk. Nonetheless, the impacts of development so far have been limited by careful practice combined with the fact that the locations of most of the mires do not coincide exactly with the favoured locations for wind turbines. The only blanket bog is situated in the Zalama area, where plans to build a wind farm have been abandoned for a combination of reasons. Paradoxically, the wind farm planning process was instrumental in raising social and political awareness of this important peatland, leading to a very promising level of interest in its conservation and restoration amongst local institutions.
Heras, P. & Infante, M. (2008): Wind farms and mires in the Basque Country and north-west Navarra, Spain. Mires and Peat 4: Art. 4. (Online: http://www.mires-and-peat.net/pages/volumes/map04/map0404.php)
IMCG and IPS acknowledge the work of the reviewers.