A new chapter of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology is in the process of being formed in the US. For info on this (and to join the listserv or hook up with people in your region), see the ASAE web pages [GO THERE]
For info on acoustic ecology organizations in other parts of the world, visit the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology web site [WEBSITE]
Introduction to Acoustic Ecology
(see also Soundscapes/Writings for many essays)
Acoustic ecology is a way of knowing a place through the sounds made by all its inhabitants and physical processes. We live within communities of sound, much of it made ourselves or by our human neighbors, but also including the presence of the wind, nearby animals, and distant planes or highways. In recent years, as the sounds of humanity have gradually diffused out of our cities and towns and extended more deeply into wild places, there has been a rising awareness of the preciousness of "natural quiet." Meanwhile, the same period has seen marked increases in enjoyment of motorized recreation and sight-seeing of all kinds, including over use of many areas by hikers and campers. The resulting polarities of opinion about the "rights" of different user groups and the wild itself often leave little room for real communication or informed decision-making.
From its beginnings in the 1970s, the study of acoustic ecology has involved an interest in learning to make more conscious, informed choices about the ways we humans participate in our local soundscapes. This is not a condemnation of making "noise", though there is often a consideration of how different sorts of sound affect us. Rather, the goal of acoustic ecology in general, and of this site, is to foster a dialogue that may lead to more informed decisions about how, when, and where human sound making might be appreciated and accepted as part of a larger community of sound and life, along with the converse, an appreciation for the beauty and biological sensitivities of natures sonic communities. As with ecology in general, acoustic ecology is about healthy balance and living dynamics.
Here, you will find information and contacts that can offer deeper
insight into questions as wide-ranging as "what is the effect
of human sound presence on wild frog communication?" and "which
snowmobile runs the quietest?" The bottom line for all of us
is to remember to listen to all the voices in our local and regional
communities of sound.