How does technology affect animals?

Effect on animals

Artificial light sources lead to serious changes in their living environment for many animals and thus represent a serious environmental problem. That is why the Federal Immission Control Act (BImSchG) also provides for the protection of animals from harmful environmental impacts in addition to the protection of humans.

For birds, artificial light sources interfere with their natural rhythm of life. With some bird species, the influence of artificial light sources can bring the breeding season forward and thus often lead to the loss of the brood. In addition, migratory birds orientate themselves on the moon and stars as well as on large conspicuous light sources. This can lead to collisions with lights or a change in the course of the train, for example.

Street lighting, industrial and sports facilities illuminated at night, large-area illuminated advertising panels and other artificial light sources attract a large number of nocturnal insects from their natural habitat. Many of these insects find death in the light sources from impact, burning or starvation after entering the lights.

For the attraction of a light source, in addition to the spectral light distribution, the luminance, the contrast to the environment, the angle of radiation and the height of the light point are decisive. The following factors must therefore be taken into account when planning lighting systems:
  • The lighting must be used as required. Light may only shine where it is needed and not also illuminate the night sky and thus attract insects.
  • Instead of setting up a high-luminance spotlight with a large luminous point height, it is often cheaper to set up several spotlights with low luminance levels and a low luminous point height.
  • Insects are particularly sensitive to short-wave light (the maximum spectral sensitivity of a moth's eye is around 370 nanometers). This is why high-pressure mercury lamps, for example, have a much stronger effect on insects than longer-wave sodium vapor lamps. In areas where the use of sodium vapor lamps is not possible, lamps with blue and UV filters can reduce the light intensity for insects.
  • In principle, luminaires must be constructed in such a way that no insects can get into the luminaire body.