Soundscape Conservation

the great animal orchestra

Soundscape ecology is the study of sound within a landscape and its effect on organisms. The discipline of conservation biology has traditionally been concerned with the preservation of biodiversity and the habitats that organisms are dependent upon. However, soundscape ecology encourages biologists to consider natural soundscapes as resources worthy of conservation efforts. Unaltered soundscapes have value for wildlife as demonstrated by the numerous negative effects of anthropogenic (human created) noise on various species.

Organisms that use acoustic cues generated by their prey may be particularly impacted by human-altered soundscapes. In this situation, the (unintentional) senders of the acoustic signals will have no incentive to compensate for masking imposed by anthropogenic sound. In addition, natural soundscapes can have benefits for human wellbeing and may help generate a distinct sense of place, connecting people to the environment and providing unique aesthetic experiences. Because of the various values inherent in natural soundscapes, they may be considered ecosystem services that are provisioned by intact, functioning ecosystems.

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