THE AMAZON BASIN & SOUNDSCAPE ECOLOGY                                                   THE BOOK CLIFFS

 

The Amazon basin is regarded as the most biodiverse region in the world, meaning it has the most different types of living organisms in a region.  This biodiversity leads to sonic diversity; some of the most unique soundscapes are found in the Amazon Basin.

 

We tend to think of environmental degradation in visual terms: Amazonian forests clear cut for cattle ranches, strip mines dugout for ore and precious metals,  or coal power plants to generate electricity spewing massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.  I think that because of the mostly visual emphasis on climate change, we get pushback on wind and solar as visually degrading a landscape.  

MEASURING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT THROUGH SOUND

Many areas of the Amazon are under continual threat of development and destructive resource extraction.  Oftentimes the soundscape reveals what is otherwise obscured or altogether missing  in the visual landscape, illegal mining, logging or land development.  Baseline soundscapes help to document changes in biodiversity, showing what species are present and missing in a given region.  

Since 2014, I have been recording baseline soundscapes of imperiled ecosystems.   This has included parts of the Amazon where illegal mining leaves minimal visual clues, but greatly impacts the healthy of the ecosystem.  This impact can be demonstrated aurally– the polluted ecosystem supports less life.  Listen below to hear some of these soundscapes.   In order to demonstrate this change, we need to have baseline soundscapes.  Humans are fairly responsive to comparing contrasting versions of what should be a similar soundscape.  

MUSIC AS AN INSTRUMENT OF CHANGE

Many areas of the Amazon are under continual threat of development and destructive resource extraction.  Economic conditions have incentivized illegal mining, logging, and reckless land management.