Landscape Ecology

, Volume 23, Issue 8, pp 945–959 | Cite as

Spatio-temporal variability in human and natural sounds in a rural landscape

  • Yiannis G. Matsinos
  • Antonios D. MazarisEmail author
  • Kimon D. Papadimitriou
  • Andreas Mniestris
  • George Hatzigiannidis
  • Dimitris Maioglou
  • John D. Pantis
Research Article


The study of landscape structure and functions, including the underlying ecological and anthropogenic processes has traditionally relied on visual aspects without considering information of non-visionary cues, e.g. auditory. In this work we applied a complementary approach for the study of landscapes using qualitative information for the sonic environment. In particular we studied the qualitative linkages between landscape structure and functions and daily sound patterns. The main objectives were the investigation of the spatial and temporal variability in sound perception, and the identification of the dominant sound categories (anthropogenic, biological, geophysical originated sounds) in relation to landscape characteristics. Our results showed significant spatio-temporal variability in the intensity of different sound categories, which reflects distinct soundscape patterns. Temporal sound variability reflected the daily cycle of anthropogenic activities and biological processes, whereas the spatial sound viability was mainly shaped by landscape attributes. The combination of the visual landscape information and its emergent acoustic profile enhances our perception and understanding of nature and this integrated approach may have many practical applications in landscape management, monitoring and planning.


Soundscape Perceived sound intensity Landscape attributes Sound classification 



The authors would like to thank the researchers who have participated to the field work: (in alphabetical order) Dionysis Batzakis, Ioanna Etmektsogolou, Giorgos Frangiskos, Iordanis Houvardas, Nikos Kefalogiannis, Evagelia Drakou, Eleni Kotali, Hristos Koutsodimakis, Theodoros Lotis, Apostolos Loufopoulos, Filippos Theoharidis, Katerina Tzedaki and Nikos Valsamakis. This research is supported by the PYTHAGORAS project of the Operational Program for Education and Initial Vocational Training (EPEAEK) of the Hellenic Ministry of Education under the 3rd European Community Support Framework for Greece. We thank J. Tzanopoulos and two anonymous reviewers for helpful and constructive comments on previous draft of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yiannis G. Matsinos
    • 1
  • Antonios D. Mazaris
    • 2
    Email author
  • Kimon D. Papadimitriou
    • 2
  • Andreas Mniestris
    • 3
  • George Hatzigiannidis
    • 2
  • Dimitris Maioglou
    • 2
  • John D. Pantis
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Studies, Biodiversity Conservation LaboratoryUniversity of the AegeanMitileneGreece
  2. 2.Department of EcologyAristotle UniversityThessalonikiGreece
  3. 3.Department of Music StudiesIonian UniversityCorfuGreece

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