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Noise pollution is stressing trees

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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Nobody wants to live in a noisy building near a highway or airport. The same applies to pollination of insects and birds that escape from trees for a long time exposed to noise and which seem to retain their after effects even long after the silence has returned. It is the result of a study that, for fifteen years, I observed a plot of trees being subjected to constant noise pollution. In these places the authors note the impoverishment of vegetation diversity and a series of lasting environmental impacts, despite the suppression of the noise.

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Making, Construction Roads or buildings … noise doesn’t just interfere with them the trees Plant diversity, but its negative impact could last long after the silence returns. The Sound pollution Related to human activities has increased dramatically since the middle of the last century, a situation that has prompted biologists to examine their effect on wild animals And plants. Previous studies have already looked at the short-term effects of noise – which repel pollinators like Insects — Certainly the trees, But few researchers have investigated the long-term effects. American scientists have studied trees exposed for 15 years to high man-made noise in New Mexico.

According to the study, published Wednesday in Proceedings of the Royal Society b, They found a 75% reduction in pine seedlings in noisy areas compared to Quieter areas. Then they examined the areas where it was found Sound pollution She vanished to see the reaction of the trees, assuming that these gatherings (juniper and pine trees) would recover quickly, once the domes that had sprouted the seeds returned to the plot of land that was once again silent.

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Noise pollution has lasting impacts on biodiversity

But, on the contrary, they note a long-term decrease in the number of new shoots, which is the birds Refusing to return to these sites. ” The effects of man-made noise pollution permeate the architecture of these forest communitiesClint Francis, a biologist at California Polytechnic University, co-author of the study, commented. What we see is that eliminating noise does not necessarily mean resumption of environmental functions. ».

Because of the animals Pollinators can stay away even if the noise stops: Animals like the maple bird are sensitive to noise and learn to avoid certain areas “Another co-author of the study, Jennifer Phillips, explained.

« Animals may take time to rediscover these previously very noisy areas and we don’t know for how long And she called for taking into account noise pollution when assessing the effects of urbanization on nature. ” I really think that noise pollution and other perceptual pollutants like light are not being taken into sufficient consideration ».

Noise pollution also affects plants!

Article by Bruno Scala, published on 23 March 2012

Noise pollution, of human origin, was known to have affected some animals. Scientists have just shown that it also has an effect on plants. Indirect but real. In this case, noise can enhance pollination but reduce dispersal of some seeds.

Sure enough, plants don’t have an ear. However, it is very likely that they were affected by noise pollution of human origin. But not directly. Animals that interact with plants may experience behavioral changes in response Noise, Which has an effect on the plants themselves.

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Because animals have ears or at least a well-developed auditory system in general. This has been proven for a long time now Underwater noise pollution It has a harmful effect on many marine species, especially mammals Communicates By the emission of sounds.

The indirect effect of noise on pollination and seed propagation

Outside of water, animals are also affected by human noise. This is especially the case the birds It is known that they have Healthy connection Very sophisticated. However, some of them, by interacting with plants, do a lot Environmental services : Seed dispersal, pollination … US researchers have shown that noise has an indirect effect on these environmental services, and thus on the plant groups involved.

Two birds caught the attention of researchers: the black-throated hummingbird (Archilochus of Alexandri(And rub Jay)Aphelocoma californica). While the former is a pollinator, the latter feeds on seeds and is fond of pine seeds. Pinus edulisThat inhabits particularly well Ecological systems Arid New Mexico. The San Juan Basin, in the northwest of the state, is severely pierced by more than 20,000 we will Who are extracting natural gas And the Hydrocarbons Fluids from the ground produce a continuous hum throughout the area. This is where the scientists conducted their experiments.

Free environmental services

Previous studies have shown that hummingbirds are more attracted to noisy environments while coyotes tend to shy away. So it is natural that in these environments, pollination is done by a. Alexandri It is preferred during seed propagation by A. californica Weakens. That’s what the researchers noticed, they explain Proceedings of the Royal Society b.

The Sound pollution Of human origin has an indirect effect on the environmental services provided by animals, such as Pollination Or the Plant dispersalWhether it is positive or negative. In the case of seed dispersal, these inconveniences have repercussions on landscape architecture and on tree populations in particular. Nevertheless, it is a free ecological service that humans seem willing to give up.

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