The interaction between wildlife and power lines has collateral effects that include wildfires and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions. However, currently available information is scarce and so new approaches are needed to increase our understanding of this issue. Here, we present the first analysis of wildfires and their incidence as a result of this interaction in Spain during the period 2000–2012. Amongst the 2788 Power-Line Mediated Wildfires (PLMW recorded) during this period, 30 records of Fauna Mediated Wildfires (FMW) were found, with an average affected vegetation cover of 9.06ha. Our findings suggest that no significant differences were observed between the amount of affected surface area due to fauna mediated wildfires and power-line mediated wildfires. In both cases, a space-grouping trend was observed. In terms of changing trends over time, after the first incident detected in 2005, the number of incidents increased until 2008, year in which the percentage of wildfires caused by wildlife stabilized at approximately 2.4% of all power-line-induced wildfires. Population density and road abundance were variables that better explained PLMW whereas for FMW, the models that included land use and raptor abundance. In the multivariate model, FMW emergence was positively related with population density, percentage of grazing areas and Natura 2000 cover, and predatory abundance; and negatively with the percentage of forested area. No significant differences were observed between the species of birds that caused wildfires and the species of ringed birds killed by electrocution. The economic and environmental impact due to necessary repairs, the loss of biodiversity and CO2 emissions represent an estimated net value of €7.6–12.4M for the period 2000–2012, which indicates the importance of the economic and environmental costs associated with wildfires.
Science of the Total Environment – Elsevier
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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