UW Researcher Uses Sound To Examine Health Of Rainforests
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UW Researcher Uses Sound To Examine Health Of Rainforests

UW Researcher Uses Sound To Examine Health Of Rainforests

Researchers use recording devices to track the sounds of the rainforest. Photo courtesy of Justine Hausheer/The Nature Conservancy

Researchers use recording devices to track the sounds of the rainforest. Photo courtesy of Justine Hausheer/The Nature Conservancy

Imagine the loudest sound you can muster. That, says University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher Zuzana Burivalova, is what a rainforest sounds like.

“We can use bioacoustics almost as a stethoscope,” said Burivalova, an assistant professor of forest and wildlife ecology at UW-Madison. “We can try to listen to the vital signs of the forest and realize is the forest maybe recovering after human presence or human exploitation or is it getting even worse?”

A team of researchers comprised of Burivalova and collaborators in Indonesia and Gabon, as well as collaborators at The Nature Conservancy, have been studying the sounds of the rainforests in Gabon, Borneo and Papua New Guinea for about the past five years to examine their vivacity. Rainforests in these locations were chosen specifically because they’re some of the most diverse and the most threatened.

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