Natural darkness has a conservation value in the same way that clean water, air and soil has intrinsic value. Artificial light at night is increasing globally by about two per cent per year.
Animals perceive light differently from humans and artificial light can disrupt critical behaviour and cause physiological changes in wildlife . For example, hatchling marine turtles may not be able to find the ocean when beaches are lit , and fledgling seabirds may not take their first flight if their nesting habitat never becomes dark .Tammar wallabies exposed to artificial light have been shown to delay reproduction and clownfish eggs incubated under constant light do not hatch .
Consequently, artificial light has the potential to stall the recovery of a threatened species.
For migratory species, the impact of artificial light may compromise an animal’s ability to undertake long-distance migrations integral to its life cycle. Artificial light at night provides for human safety, amenity and increased productivity.
Australian legislation and standards regulate artificial light for the purpose of human safety.
Guidelines for lighting that look to protect fauna from the impact of artificial light sources do not infringe on human safety obligations. Where there are competing objectives for lighting, creative solutions may be needed that meet both human safety requirements for artificial light and threatened and migratory species conservation.
Guidelines exist that outline the process to be followed where there is the potential for artificial lighting to affect wildlife. They apply to new projects, lighting upgrades (retrofitting) and where there is evidence of wildlife being affected by existing artificial light.The technology around lighting hardware, design and control is changing rapidly and biological responses to artificial light vary by species, location and environmental conditions thus to date it has not been possible to set prescriptive limits on lighting. Instead, these incumbent guidelines take an outcomes approach to assessing and mitigating the effect of artificial light on wildlife.
LOWALIGHTING is constantly researching ways to provide solutions that benefits fauna and human habitation alike. For more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org