Would LED street lights influence animal behaviour?

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Daniel Dresner

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Daniel Dresner asked the Naked Scientists:
This is the first time I've come across your site and I should lurk for a while before commenting, but as a Biologist and member of my 800-resident town's Environment Committee who is considering our participation in a Dark Sky program by reducing the number of street lights and converting the remainder to downward-pointing lights, I feel compelled to point out a potentially quite serious unintended consequence of your thread - and to very common tendency for humans for perfectly good reasons to compartmentalize their thinking.

Specifically, your discussion seems to have no meaningful participation of anyone from the Life Sciences.

For a more mature and useful examination, the discussion (especially of street lights and outdoor home-lighting) you really must consider the sometimes-critically important  effects of the wavelengths and lumens of LEDs and other night lights on insect behavior, bats and other flying insectivores, migrating birds, and human psychology. We live in a heavily-forested section of the Dunes National Lakeshore section at the southernmost tip of Lake Michigan in the U.S. and are dead-center in the middle of the Mississippi Flyway for migrating birds and insects. Our present concern (in addition to esthetic and safety considerations) is whether the LED lights being considered for installation emit too much light in the blue spectrum which, logic cautions, could have an as-yet-unknown effect on our local and transient biota which may be influenced by the end-of-day sky coloration.

I believe we are likely to discover that these effects can, in some important instances, be significantly disruptive to animal behaviors.

We need to do our own informational search on the 'net for this, but your interesting site is a caution to us in our own efforts.

(Having said all this, I grant that your intention is not to provide a primary source of comprehensive information on the subject, but I do offer these words of caution to your participants with the best of intentions!)

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 27/09/2011 09:01:03 by _system »


Offline Geezer

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Would LED street lights influence animal behaviour?
« Reply #1 on: 27/09/2011 19:01:48 »
You could be right. Probably the best thing would be to ditch the street lights altogether.
There ain'ta no sanity clause, and there ain'ta no centrifugal force Šther.


Offline anern

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Would LED street lights influence animal behaviour?
« Reply #2 on: 15/12/2011 02:01:20 »
COMMERCIAL URL REMOVED are environmentally friendly, reduce costs and save energy. They produce a directional, high level of light which creates visibility without glare. There are no specific standards for measuring, testing or applying LED lights.
« Last Edit: 15/12/2011 06:14:06 by Geezer »


Offline Airthumbs

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Would LED street lights influence animal behaviour?
« Reply #3 on: 15/12/2011 03:38:54 »
What is your alternative suggestion?

One might be green led's, Plants would not be effected. Motion sensor, led street lamps is another, anything smaller then a dog would not trigger them.  Energy saving dimmer modes for off peak, off peak times and ability to lower light levls at critical migration times. [;D] Solar,and/or wind power off the grid street lighting.  Firstly though get rid of those ancient, heat emitting, energy guzzling, sky illuminating insect attractants you currently have!
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (Einstein)