Forest Soundscapes

This piece caught my eye recently: Gigantic wooden megaphones amplify the sounds of the forest in Estonia . It begins: “If you’ve ever enjoyed a walk in the woods, you’ve probably noticed the simultaneous “peace and quiet” and subtle busy-ness of Mother Nature. Students in Estonia certainly did – and for an extra dose of awesome, they decided to amplify these natural sounds with three huge wooden megaphones in a lush wooded area. Photographer Tõnu Tunnel captures the graceful all their glory”.

I could very much appreciate what the artist wanted to convey. One of the reasons I like to hike alone is to be absorbed in the sounds of nature, and especially those of our forests. I call it the sound of silence, referring of course to human activity (and incidentally to Simon and Garfunkel).

Mark Brennan soundscapesThere is no audio in the piece about the wooden microphones, which I would love to listen to if there were. But I can listen to some some superb recordings in forest wilderness by Mark Brennan. His Wild Earth Voices include four albums in forest wilderness settings in Nova Scotia: Peskowesk in Kejimkujik National Park; Les Suetes at Warren Lake, Cape Breton; Ancient Forest at Abrahams Lake; and A Wilderness Lake recorded at Ayers Lake, New Brunswick, and Abraham Lake, Nova Scotia. (When you click on those links you will be treated to a sample from each site.)

There could hardly be more eloquent expressions of the value of conserving as much of our forest in its natural state or near natural state as we possibly can – and of what we lose otherwise. I have been in functioning private woodlots that could be described as maintaining the forest in a near natural state, ‘only wish there were a lot more amongst the harvested sites on Crown land.

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