Clark geography Professor Florencia Sangermano has spent the last few years strapping audio recorders onto trees in forests across Central Massachusetts, recording everything from chirping birds to traffic to rainfall. She’s monitoring the soundscapes of these areas to gauge the health of the ecosystem and determine the impact that humans and climate change are having on it. On this episode of Challenge. Change., Sangermano explains this research, which was recently published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning.
“I found that forest areas with higher connectivity and high vegetation productivity have more sounds from animals and also more frequencies that come from animal sources. In this case, the majority of sounds are from birds,” Sangermano says. “On the other hand, the areas with more lights or traffic, or more human edges — for example, near backyards or agriculture —presented lower sounds from animals. The main takeaway is that, through the sounds, we can evaluate the impact of humans on biodiversity.”