Midwest Temperate Ecosystems. (Pijanowski lead)
July 22-25, 2012
Midwestern landscapes are undergoing several major transformations (Pijanowski et al. in press-, Pijanowski in review) of the landscape that are affecting soundscapes. These include forest fragmentation occurring as a result of increased pressures on the land for agricultural use, urbanization from manufacturing, service and residential use, and land-based renewable energy uses, especially wind farms and ethanol plants. Midwestern cities are trying to reinvent themselves as centers of recreation, finance, health industries. Chicago has been particularly successful at diversifying its economic base. Indeed, the city and its surrounding is undergoing major restoration efforts along large corridors; this work is being coordinated by Chicago Wilderness (Pijanowski is a member and belongs to the Science and Nature Committee), a non-profit organization that attempts to bring local government and environmental groups together for a common goal – improving the ecosystem services within urban areas. The Midwest Temperate Forest Listening Workshop will involve visits to Pijanowski Tippecanoe Soundscape Study Sites (old growth forests, secondary forest sites, agricultural sites, a wetland and two urban sites) to learn about sounds from these Midwestern landscapes. One day will involve travel to Chicago (2 hours away) where the workshop participants will listen to several areas where restoration (prairies, woodlands, and wetlands) are underway. Participants will also visit downtown parks and other urban centers to learn about sounds from large cities.
Borneo Equatorial Rainforest (Monacchi lead)
Two of our members (Monacchi and Krause) have made numerous recordings of the Borneo Rainforests. Only a few native equatorial rainforests exist, most are located along the north and eastern portions of the island of Borneo. These forest remnants are being destroyed at an unprecedented pace and our network will attempt to visit, record and characterize these soundscapes before they are lost forever. A couple of candidate workshop locations exist – we are currently planning to hold the listening workshop at the Tabin Wildlife Reserve, located on the far eastern edge of the island. The Reserve contains places where workshop participants can stay, meet and disperse to locations to listen individually and as a group.
Kenai Wildlife Refuge. (Morton lead)
Ongoing soundscape studies in the Kenai Wildlife Refuge will serve as the focal point for the listening workshop in the high latitudes. Kenai Wildlife Refuge is located on the Alaskan Kenai Peninsula in a heavily glaciated area 3,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level. The Kenai Lowlands contain thousands of lakes and a boreal forest covering rolling hills, ridges and muskeg. A variety of ecosystems exist here,including maritime-fjord, arctic rainforests, peat bogs, black spruce forests, and large glaciers. SP Morton, a researcher at the United States Park Service, is currently conducting long-term monitoring in the valleys. Research on what acoustically constitutes Quiet and Solitude Soundscapes is ongoing. Levels of biophony, geophony and anthrophony are being monitored with attempts to determine thresholds that classify these soundscapes as Quiet and Solitude have been recently started. Threats to these soundscapes include recreational vehicles (especially snow machines), highway traffic, and overflights. Over 1.2 million people visit the refuge each year. Listening exercises will focus on trips to various ecosystems and to places of different levels of human disturbance. The workshop will also focus on learning about the (1) ecology of the region; (2) various threats to this ecosystem; (3) review of management options being considered to protect the refuge’s soundscapes.
Mediterranean Landscapes in Tuscany (Farina lead)
SP Farina has conducted soundscape studies in a coastal to montane ecosystem gradient in the Tuscany region of Italy. Farina and his students have erected a unique microphone cabling system in a montane mixed forest that records sounds across a 0.5km by 100m landscape continuously. Habitat areas are mapped and soundscape metrics are integrated with these vegetation maps. The study also considers metropolitan areas and green areas ear medium and large cities. Several invasive bird species have moved into these landscapes in recent years, representing a significant phonic invasion disrupting communication of endemic bird species (Pijanowski et al., in press). Heavy recreational use along the coasts, brought about by over 220 million visitors to this region each year, is also elevating noise levels throughout the region. Less than 10% of the native vegetation remains today. More emote regions are being threatened by human-caused forest fires, clearing for agriculture, logging and overgrazing. Desertification of the region is also occurring as a result of climate change. Coastal soundscapes are no longer dominated by biophony and geophony.
Sonoran Desert Region. (Cummings lead)
The Sonoran Desert Region contains ecosystems with some of the greatest vegetation diversity of any desert in the world. The Sonoran Desert Region encompasses a large region, from southern California through northern New Mexico south to the Baja Peninsula of Mexico. Major threats to these ecosystems and soundscapes include expanding traffic on rural roads, rural residential development, overgrazing and climate change. The site of the indoor workshop will be either at the Acoustic Ecology Institute in Sante Fe, the campus of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque or New Mexico State University’s LTER Jornada Experimental Range site in Las Cruces. Several listening exercises will occur in desert, shrub and tropical deciduous forest ecosystems within a 2 hour drive. Candidate locations include: the Cibola National Forest, Chihuahuan Desert Rangeland Research Center, or the LTER Jornada research station. SP Cummings is currently examining the impacts of noise from wind turbines on soundscape composition and a visit to his field research areas will be made. Krause has released a CD entirely devoted to sounds of the desert.