Wildlife & Energy Programme


Avian Wind Farm Sensitivity Map

The EWT-WEP, BirdLife South Africa, as well as a number of bird specialists developed an Avian Wind Farm Sensitivity Map for South Africa. The purpose of the map is to indicate localities in South Africa that contain species that are believed to be sensitive to wind farm developments. Care should be taken when developing wind farms in these areas.

Developing the map was a complicated process and a large number of factors were considered during the design of the map. When downloading and viewing the files care should be taken as to how to evaluate the maps. The following should be taken into consideration:

  • The purpose of the map is to indicate levels of sensitivity with regards to areas that may be sensitive for wind farm development.
  • The sensitivity map does not replace the EIA or pre- and post- construction monitoring processes. At most, the map provides some guidance as to the level of monitoring that should be undertaken at each proposed wind farm site. For more information click here (this must link to the page where we feature the monitoring guidelines).
  • The map does not indicate “No-Go” zones. It may therefore, with further study, be possible to construct wind farms in areas with high sensitivity values. At most, the map alerts wind farm developers to areas of higher risk particularly related to collisions with the wind turbines.
  • The sensitivity values on the map are influenced by the extent of the available data. The confidence factor should therefore be taken into consideration when evaluating the data. A pentad with a low number of species and few bird lists could mean that there are species which have not yet been recorded in the area. Some of the data on the map are based on SABAP1 data which might be outdated and of less value.Please refer to the document entitled “Avian Wind Farm Sensitivity Map for South Africa: Criteria and Procedures Used”, which can be downloaded from the page mentioned below, for details as to how the map was designed. The design process must be taken into consideration when evaluating the map.

This map is a work in progress. As more and more species data is collected through pre- and post- construction monitoring, the map will be updated accordingly. In order to download the relevant documentation please indicate that you have read the above notes and then click on button below.


Avian Wind Farm Sensitivity Map Documentation
All the documentation that you will need to view the sensitivity map can be downloaded using the links listed below. This is a work in progress and any comments/corrections on the documents listed below can be forwarded to conservation.gauteng@birdlife.org.za.

Avian Wind Farm Sensitivity Map for South Africa: Criteria and Procedures Used
This document describes in detail the process followed in the design of the map. The map should only be evaluated after studying this document in detail. PDF Document (660 KB)

Shapefile
This file can be viewed with GIS software such as ArcView and Christine GIS. Please note you will need an UNZIP programme to open the file.
Shapefiles in Zip format (713 KB)

KMZ File
The map can be viewed in Google Earth by downloading this file. You will need to download and install Google Earth in order to view the file. By clicking on each pentad in the map you will obtain the sensitivity value and confidence factor. Please note you will need an UNZIP programme to open the file. KMZ File (744 KB)

MS Excel Files
Three MS Excel Files are available in the ZIP file below. These files will provide you with all the details you need in order to interpret the KMZ and Shapefile.
File 1: This file provides a detailed description of the information used to calculate the priority level of each species. Please see the worksheet with the title "Description" for an explanation of how to interpret the document.
File 2: This file contains the basic calculations per pentad that were used to compile the map.
File 3: This file contains the basic species data that were used to compile the map. This file can be used to determine which species were recorded in each pentad. Please see the worksheet with the title "Description" for an explanation of how to interpret the document.
MS Excel Zip File (2.9 MB)