By analysing the composition of sounds in a forest — called a soundscape — scientists can make cost-effective and reliable assessment of the forest, according to a new study conducted in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
A soundscape’s saturation refers to the variety of pitches, or frequencies, found in the sounds. The study, published in Conservation Biology on 14 June, confirmed that land-use zones with intact forest cover had significantly higher soundscape saturation.
Autonomous recorders set up at 34 locations in the Adelbert Mountains of PNG covered sites ranging from pristine forests to small cacao farms. Led by Zuzana Burivalova, tropical forest ecologist at Princeton University, the study recorded almost 1,300 hours of sounds in July 2015.