The sound of a tropical forest

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Science  04 Jan 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6422, pp. 28-29
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav1902

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Conservation areas around the world aim to help conserve animal biodiversity, but it is often difficult to measure conservation success without detailed on-the-ground surveys. High-resolution satellite imagery can be used to verify whether or not deforestation has occurred in areas dedicated for conservation (1). Such remote sensing analyses can reveal forest loss and, in some cases, severe forest degradation, such as through fragmentation and intensive selective logging, especially if it includes the construction of roads or camps. However, conservation benefit is determined not only by forest loss but also by the level of degradation in those forests left standing. Bioacoustics—specifically the recording and analysis of entire soundscapes—is an emerging tool with great promise for effectively monitoring animal biodiversity in tropical forests under various conservation schemes (2, 3).