1 Tahrcountry Musings: Sound as a way to understand the ecological characteristics of a landscape

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sound as a way to understand the ecological characteristics of a landscape

I have always been a votary for managing soundscape in wildlife reserves. The other day I was discussing with my friend Ramesh, the increasing cacophony in wildlife reserves and its implications for wildlife. Ramesh wanted me to give him a good paper on soundscape ecology. Here is the paper that I suggested
What is soundscape ecology? An introduction and overview of an emerging new science
Bryan C. PijanowskiAlmo FarinaStuart H. GageSarah L. Dumyahn and Bernie L. Krause
From the issue entitled "Special Issue: Soundscape Ecology"
LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY, Volume 26, Number 9, 1213-12328

In this paper the researchers summarise the fundamental elements of soundscape ecology. The various aspects of sound from various sources biological, geophysical and anthropogenic is discussed across different spatial and temporal scales. Terms, soundscapes, biophony, geophony and anthrophony, are introduced and defined.The intellectual foundations of soundscape ecology are described—those of spatial ecology, bioacoustics, urban environmental acoustics and acoustic ecology.

The researchers argue that soundscape ecology differs from the humanities driven focus of acoustic ecology although soundscape ecology will likely need its rich vocabulary and conservation ethic. They present a fascinating framework that describes how climate, land transformations, biodiversity patterns, timing of life history events and human activities create the dynamic soundscape.

What is currently known about factors that control temporal soundscape dynamics and variability across spatial gradients are summarised. Several different phonic interactions (e.g., how anthrophony affects biophony) are also described. 

Soundscape ecology tools that will be needed by the mangers and researchers are discussed. Ways in which soundscapes need to be managed are also presented. 

This paper is highly recommended for wildlife mangers.

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