Using soundscapes to detect variable degrees of human influence on tropical forests in Papua New Guinea

Conservation Biology
Burivalova, Zuzana; Towsey, Michael; Boucher, Tim; Truskinger, Anthony; Apelis, Cosmas; Roe, Paul; Game, Edward T.
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Volume / Issue32/1
Total Pages11 pages
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Tagsavifauna, bioacoustics, community forest management, forest degradation, hunting, subsistence agriculture, land use planning, vocalizing biodiversity
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Publication DateJune 14, 2017
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AbstractThere is global concern about tropical forest degradation, in part, because of the associated loss of biodiversity. Communities and indigenous people play a fundamental role in tropical forest management and they are often efficient at preventing forest degradation. However, monitoring changes in biodiversity due to degradation, especially at a scale appropriate to local tropical forest management, is marred with difficulties including the need for expert training, inconsistency across observers, and the lack of baseline or reference data. We used a new biodiversity remote sensing technology, the recording of soundscapes, to test whether the acoustic saturation of a soundscape decreases with increasing land use intensity by the communities that manage the tropical forests in Papua New Guinea. We found that land use zones where forest cover was fully retained had a significantly higher soundscape saturation during peak acoustic activity times, corresponding to the dawn and dusk chorus, compared with land use types with fragmented forest cover. We conclude that, in Papua New Guinea, the relatively simple measure of soundscape saturation may provide a cheap, objective, reproducible, and effective tool to monitor tropical forest deviation from intact state, particularly through detecting the presence of an intact dawn and dusk chorus.
Created: 12/14/2017 10:31 AM (ET)
Modified: 1/4/2019 9:55 AM (ET)
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