The Emerging Field of “Soundscape Ecology”


[Image: Students from Field Studies 2010 (N.b. link auto-plays sound) explore London; photo by Marc Behrens, courtesy of The Wire].

While preparing for my upcoming sound workshop, I came across the emerging field of “Soundscape Ecology”, close cousin to “Acoustic Ecology”. What a timely discovery!

Some of you may have heard about this on NPR’s Weekend Edition this past Saturday, March 26th. If not, you can listen to it here.

Apparently there are people and scientists out there (one researcher in particular from Purdue University, see below, has really capture the attention of the media and blogosphere of late!) who are coming to grips with the importance of sound and soundscapes in the study of place and ecology.

According to an article from Science Codex, the new “scientific field….will use sound as a way to understand the ecological characteristics of a landscape and to reconnect people with the importance of natural sounds. Soundscape ecology, as it’s being called, will focus on what sounds can tell people about an area. Bryan Pijanowski, an associate professor of forestry and natural resources and lead author of a paper outlining the field in the journal BioScience, said natural sound could be used like a canary in a coal mine. Sound could be a critical first indicator of environmental changes…..”
Read the entire article here.

A little more research led me to this fascinating semi-local resource in Santa Fe, the Acoustic Ecology Instite: www.acousticecology.org. Their blog/news site is also very informative: aeinews.org I have yet to speak with anyone from AEI, but I certainly will in the near future!

Another informative post on BLDGBLOG comparing similarities and differences between the bouquet of emerging audio-based ecological fields (and also where the featured photo for this post came from) can be found here.

Keep your ears open to the sounds around you and let me know what you hear!

2 thoughts on “The Emerging Field of “Soundscape Ecology”

  1. soundslikenoise

    Hi – I’ve just discovered your blog. Yes, acoustic ecology is a really exciting development in environmentalism and aesthetics. Such an obvious thing as the quality of sound diversity and clarity in our ecological systems has been overlooked for a long time, so it’s good to have the sonic environment being recognised as an indicator of our locales.

    Reply
    1. Claire Post author

      Yes – well said! My thoughts exactly. I have been tardy in responding to your comment, as I have been working on a collaborative arts project and traveling residency At the Marble Arch Caves Geopark in N. Ireland, “DREAMING PLACE”. In this project, sound ecologies are playing an important role, as are interviews with people, places and things….check out our blog at http://www.dreamingplace.eu

      Reply

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