Tuesday, February 7, 2017
LED lighting could have major impact on wildlife.
New research by the University of Exeter and published in global change biology shows that LED street lighting can be tailored to reduce its impacts on the environment. The UK-based study found predatory spiders and beetles were drawn to grassland patches lit by LED lighting at night, but the number of species affected was markedly reduced when the lights were dimmed by 50% and switched off between midnight and 4am. LEDs made up just 9% of the global lighting market in 2011, but forecasts suggest they will account for 69% by 2020. The growth of LED lighting is an issue of global concern, and the number of documented impacts on the environment is growing rapidly. The research shows that local authorities might be able to manage LED lighting in a way that reduces its environmental impacts. There is a need to establish whether this is the case for a greater variety of species. The results suggest that the growing use of LED lighting will have impacts on the abundance of predatory invertebrates, potentially leading to knock on effects for other species in grassland food-webs.