Ex-post evaluation of the ecosystem effects of the construction of the Zenibako Wind Farm.
The Ecological Society of Japan submitted "The opinion for suspension of wind farm construction on the Zenibako Coast" to the Government of Hokkaido and the wind farm owner in 2011, reflecting concerns regarding the academic and ecosystem values of the proposed construction in the area. In addition, an Aftercare Committee (ACC) was established. However, the wind farm was constructed and became operational in February 2020. To evaluate the associated ecosystem impacts, the ACC completed landscape, vegetation and avifauna surveys on and adjacent to the wind farm in the summer of 2020. The surveys yielded four key results: (1) yards occupied 61% of the 5.5-ha footprint and soil erosion was prevalent along road slopes; (2) the greatest ecosystem alteration occurred in the grassland zone, as the wind farm was established nearly parallel to the coastline; (3) exotic plant species, especially Cakile edentula, have established and become widespread on roads and yard areas; and (4) avifaunal populations have declined and the community has become simplified.