I picked two regions to document in my dissertation "Acoustic Ecology: The Preservation of Sonic Landscapes," The Book Cliffs Utah, and regions of the Amazon Rainforest. There are practical considerations for these two regions, they balance each other sonically and visually, one is national, one international, and I am drawn to the exotic elements and adventure inherent in both.
While I was aware of the natural beauty of both and increasing loss of habitat globally, I did not expect the Book Cliffs to be such a hotly contested area so soon, one that may sound completely different in a few years. I am drawn to these areas to look at sound as it relates to sustainability and how you might use sound to assess ecosystem diversity.
The Book Cliffs is part of one of the largest unprotected wilderness areas in the United States. It is also front and center on a debate regarding oil leasing with unexpected opponents. On the one side the Oil Companies and the Utah School and Institutional Trust Land Administration (SITLA); on the other, a hodge podge of environmentalists, recreational enthusiasts, and hunters. SITLA which owns the land is responsible to "maximize the value" and in this case monetarily bolster the Utah Education Trust. Initial estimates suggest at least $120 Million in funds would be raised annually, a challenging amount to turn down given the status of state schools and budgets.
This energy development is part of a larger boom in development, one that is chronicled by author and POSTCARBON Fellow
My research deals with the impact that this development will have on the sound in this region, as well as to establish baseline acoustic profiles from which to compare other sites.