Although noise may change humans in an instant, it has a more lasting effect on trees and plants.
A new Cal Poly study shows that even if noise is eliminated, human noise pollution will affect the diversity of plants in the ecosystem. This is the first study to study the long-term effects of noise on plant communities.It was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
In a study conducted twelve years ago near a natural gas well in New Mexico, researchers found that in noisy locations, there were 75% fewer pine seedlings in pine trees than in quiet ones. This is most likely due to the noise dispersing Woodhouse̵
Recently, a research team returned to the site to determine whether the pine trees have recovered over time.
As the company changed places where noisy compressors were used to help produce natural gas, some previously noisy places became quieter. Compared with locations where there is no compressor on the well pad to speed up gas drainage, there are fewer saplings and saplings in these areas. The reduction of saplings started from the noisy time of the site, but the reduction of seedlings showed that once the noise was removed, the pine pine seeds still did not germinate.
Biology professor and senior author Clint Francis (Clint Francis) said: “The impact of human noise pollution is increasingly being developed into the structure of these woodland communities.” “What we see is that eliminating noise does not necessarily lead to immediate results. Restoration of ecological functions.”
Although pine trees may have been reduced due to lack of production opportunities, Woodhouse’s bush crows are more likely to have not returned to previously noisy areas and therefore did not sow.
“Some animals, such as those in the bushes, have short memories,” said lead author Jennifer Phillips (Jennifer Phillips). “Animals that are sensitive to noise like bushes will learn to avoid certain areas. It may take some time for the animals to rediscover these previously noisy areas, and we don’t know how long this may take.”
The researchers also found that the difference between juniper seedlings and flowering plant communities depends on the current noise level and whether the noise level has recently changed due to the movement of a noisy compressor. Compared with quiet locations, there are fewer juniper seedlings and different types of plants in noisy locations. Due to the complexity of the ecosystem, the reasons for these changes are still unknown.
Francis said: “Our results show that plant communities undergo many changes with noise exposure.” “We are very good about how and why basic trees like pine pine are affected by the noise we used to work with J Bird. However, we have also seen that the abundance of shrubs and annual plants has changed the huge changes in plant communities. These changes may reflect the impact of noise on plant-eating animals (such as deer, elk and various insects), and many A pollinator important for plant reproduction. In essence, our research shows that the impact of noise is profound and reverberates throughout the ecosystem through many species.”
Future research can provide a finer understanding of how noise causes these ecosystem changes. Researchers hope to learn more about which herbivores, seed dispersers and pollinators can avoid or be attracted to noise, and how changes in insect and animal behavior combine to affect plant communities.
Based on the pattern of noise pollution in ecosystems over the past decade, evidence suggests that it may take a long time for plant communities to recover from the effects of human noise. However, Sarah Termondt, a co-author and principal botanist at the California Institute of Technology Research Institution, still emphasizes the need to understand the full and lasting cost of noise. She said: “Continuing to observe the long-term changes in plant populations over time will clarify whether the community will eventually recover even after long-term noise pollution, even if it is removed from the landscape.”
When people observe changes in plant communities and more and more evidence that noise causes problems for animals, it is increasingly difficult to ignore the fact that there are almost no noise regulations in the United States.
Reference: April 13, 2021, Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
DOI: 10.1098 / rspb.2020.2906
Funding source: Natural Sound and Night Sky Division, National Park Service, National Natural Science Foundation, William and Linda Frost Foundation, Department of Mathematics and Mathematics, California Institute of Technology
Editor’s note: “Impact” in the title has been corrected to “Impact”.