THE BOOK CLIFFS & SOUNDSCAPE ECOLOGY ANTHOLOGY||AMAZON BASIN
Sounds can be roughly classified into three categories: biophony, geophony, and anthrophony. Biophony is sound from living organisms (other than humans), geophony is sound from the natural world (waterfalls/wind/glaciers), and anthrophony is sound from humans, including machinery.
Soundscape ecology looks at the relation of these sources in a given environment and the effect on the organisms within that environment.
The Book Cliffs region in Utah is one of the most remote areas (high nature density, no paved roads) in the contiguous United States. It is regarded as second only to Yellowstone National Park in its pristine natural condition. The Book Cliffs is a high plains desert which means it is very quiet.
In recent years a proliferation of shale oil mining has actually contributed to a new soundscape. The open fields and rolling hills combined with the low frequency makes for a noisier environment, with the soundscape dominated by manmade sounds.
In looking at an object such as an oil well that doesn't move– it might seem like it has little impact on the landscape. However, the noise has impact on the predation, and the changing makeup of the wildlife impacts the natural processes in the ecosystem. Because the topography is open, predation is both visual and aural, and animals need to be stealthy to survive. Not only does anthrophony change the soundscape, but over time it leads to changes in the visual landscape as well.