Site icon Conservation news

Podcast: Escape into nature’s soundscapes

The writhed hornbill, a Philippines endemic species. Image by Olaf Oliviero Riemer via Creative Commons (CC BY 3.0).

The writhed hornbill, a Philippines endemic species. Image by Olaf Oliviero Riemer via Creative Commons (CC BY 3.0).

  • Mongabay’s podcast explores the growing field of bioacoustics often, and an important subset of this discipline is soundscape recording.
  • Healthy ecosystems are often noisy places: from reefs to grasslands and forests, these are sonically rich ecosystems, thanks to all the species present.
  • Sound recordist George Vlad travels widely and on this special episode he plays soundscape recordings from Brazil’s Javari Valley and a rainforest clearing in the Congo Basin, and describes how they were captured.
  • Recording soundscapes of such places is one way to ensure we don’t forget what a full array of birds, bats, bugs, and more sounds like, despite the biodiversity crisis.

Healthy ecosystems are often noisy places: from reefs to grasslands and forests, these are sonically rich thanks to all the species defending territories, finding mates, locating prey, or perhaps enjoying the ability to add to life’s rich chorus.

Recording soundscapes of such places is one way to ensure we don’t forget what a full array of birds, bats, bugs, and more sounds like, and it couldn’t be more important, as the world witnesses a decline in many such kinds of creatures, due to the biodiversity crisis.

So on this episode of the podcast, host Mike G. plays a diverse selection of forest soundscapes from South America and Africa and discusses them with their creator, sound recordist George Vlad, who travels widely and shares the acoustic alchemy of nature via his Youtube channel.

Listen here:

Research shows that younger generations of people are often unaware of the decline in bird and bug populations, whether visually or sonically, and often therefore think that the current sights and sounds around them are the natural state of landscapes. This ‘ecological forgetfulness’ is called ‘shifting baselines syndrome,’ and one way to subvert it is to record soundscapes.

The episode features recordings from Brazil’s Javari Valley and an African ‘bai’ (a natural clearing in the rainforest).

Join us to explore these sonic landscapes with Vlad and get inspired to find the richness of natural sounds near you.

Dzanga Bai in Central Africa is a place with a very rich soundscape, where forest elephants, birds, and many other creatures gather and socialize in this large rainforest clearing. Image courtesy Ana Verahrami/Elephant Listening Project.

Here’s related audio from a very popular episode in May 2020 that featured recordings of forest elephants at a bai in Central African Republic:

In 2018 the podcast featured a discussion of soundscape phenology and the emerging role it’s playing in the study of animal behavior and landscape ecology, hear that here:

Listeners interested in soundscapes and bioacoustics can explore more examples here:

• Audio: The sounds of tropical katydids and how they can benefit conservation, 01/22/20

• Audio: How listening to individual gibbons can benefit conservation, 11/26/19

• Audio: What underwater sounds can tell us about Indian Ocean humpback dolphins, 03/19/19

• Audio: The superb mimicry skills of an Australian songbird, 08/21/18

Subscribe to or follow the Mongabay Newscast wherever you get your podcasts, from Apple to Spotify, you can also listen to all episodes here on the Mongabay website or download our free app for Apple and Android devices to gain fingertip access to new shows and all our previous episodes.

Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter here: @mikeg2001

Banner image: A writhed hornbill, a Philippines endemic species, singing. Image by Olaf Oliviero Riemer via Creative Commons (CC BY 3.0).

Related audio here at Mongabay:

Podcast: Forest conservation for climate defense & cultural preservation