Germany has lost more than 15 million birds in the past 25 years, most of them in cultivated land. This is also clearly noticeable in the soundscape of our environment: Spring becomes quieter and more monotonous when stocks shrink and species disappear. This is shown by an assessment by Johannes Kamp of the Georg-August University of Göttingen and his team in “Nature Communications”..
Working group combined long-term data series that monitor bird populations with recordings of over 1000 species xenon-chanting, an online database of bird calls and chants. From this he developed soundscapes of about 200,000 recording surfaces over the past 25 years in North America and Europe, and then characterized them based on how complex, variable and intense they were. The more species in an area and the more common some of them are, the more polyphonic and sharp this sound scene is. When species or individuals disappear, they become poor.
» The acoustic diversity and intensity of natural sounds is declining across Europe. For example, in Germany, we have lost large populations of species with distinctive sounds such as skylarks and lapwings. These sounds are what create the feel of spring in the landscape. Agricultural landscapes in particular have become very calm,” Kamp says. Many other regions of Europe and North America are affected. Across the Atlantic, about three billion birds have disappeared over the past few decades. In the northeastern United States Poverty is most noticeable, while in Europe especially areas with intensive agriculture and urbanization are becoming poorer.
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