Sound research

What can sound tell us about the landscape? A research project also taking place in Kilpisjärvi is unveiling what the soundscape tells us about the area.

Using a new approach known as ecoacoustics, researchers are studying the whole ‘soundscape’. This includes three key components: biophony – the sounds made by biological life, such as birds, insects, and mammals; geophony – the sounds made by the planet, such as wind; and anthrophony, the sounds made by human beings and their machines, such as trucks and snowmobiles. In the CONTOURS project automated sound recorders have been deployed in the Kilpisjärvi area to record all these sounds and to measure how they change over time. One of the main goals of this project is to understand the relationship between anthrophony and biophony. The researchers will, for example, explore what an impact increasing snowmobile noise has on local bird populations. It is well established that acoustic disturbance negatively impacts biodiversity, but how far do these impacts spread ? Via linked walking interviews with local people and visitors, the researchers will also ask the question of whether such man-made noise has a detrimental effect on the human experience of wild landscapes, which is often a key driver for tourists visiting these places.