Current Landscape Ecology Reports

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 41–50 | Cite as

Anthropogenic Landscape Changes and Their Impacts on Terrestrial and Freshwater Soundscapes

  • R. ProulxEmail author
  • J. Waldinger
  • N. Koper
Interface of Landscape Ecology and Natural Resource Management (Y Wiersma and N Koper, SECTION EDITOR)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Interface of Landscape Ecology and Natural Resource Management


Purpose of Review

Quantifying the effects of anthropogenic sounds on wildlife at the landscape scale of observation has been notoriously difficult because these sounds are often confounded with the presence of infrastructure and loss of habitat through resource exploitation activities. In this paper, we review how anthropogenic landscape changes affect the power level and propagation of sounds in both terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems, as well as the behavioural response of organisms to novel acoustic habitats.

Recent Findings

Resource exploitation and other human activities change soundscapes both directly, by affecting sound production and propagation, and indirectly, by modifying landscape structure and species distribution patterns. Intermittent anthropogenic sounds are concentrated in the lower frequencies, tend to be louder than enduring sounds of the same origin and create more patchy soundscapes. We identified key sensorial traits that are related to the auditory acuity of species in different taxonomic groups, including fish, birds, anurans, stridulating insects and small mammals, and which may help us understand why certain species are more sensitive to anthropogenic changes to soundscapes.


Prioritizing research in an increasingly noisy world requires a proper understanding of the auditory sensitivity of species, the characteristics of anthropogenic sounds (i.e. intermittent or enduring), and how sound production and propagation is affected by landscape structure. Further research on species’ sensorial traits would provide a framework with which to scale responses to anthropogenic sounds from individuals to communities and better predict the impact of human activities on terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems.


Anthropogenic noise Ecoacoustics Anthrophony Biophony Geophony Song frequency 


Sources of Funds

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Discovery Grant to NK (RGPIN-2017-04038), Discovery Grant and Canada Research Chair Program to RP (RGPIN-2016-04519) and Government of Manitoba provided Manitoba Graduate Scholarship to JW (no award number).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article contains no studies with human or animal subjects performed by the authors.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département des Sciences de l’Environnement, Centre for Research on Watershed-Aquatic Ecosystem Interactions, Canada Research Chair in Ecological integrityUniversité du Québec à Trois-RivièresTrois-RivieresCanada
  2. 2.Natural Resources InstituteUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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