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Quiet Places & Quietude

Quiet places, where the sounds of nature can be heard uninterrupted by the sounds of human beings, are some of our most endangered habitats.

Recordists of nature sounds and others who return time after time to listen to and document previously pristine locations world-wide, find that these are fast disappearing under the onslaught of technological sources of noise.

It is only recently that quietude has been perceived as an issue for discussion. Therefore to present the issue, some basic definitions are in order.

In this discussion natural sound refers to the sounds of nature as opposed to the technological sounds of human beings. Quietude refers a state or situation where natural sounds can be heard uninterrupted by these technological sounds. Places where quietude still prevails are called, quiet places.

Human populations and technology have drastically reduced the habitats available for the world's diversity of species. Today as a result many are in danger of disappearing. Also threatened are the quiet places where the pristine sounds of nature can be heard. For many of our visitors any natural area seems peaceful. However when we focus them on the sounds of nature, we hear at an ever-maddening level the sounds of automobiles, airplanes, chain saws, generators, and even the din of others like ourselves. Even in places where large areas of untouched natural habitat have been protected (see "Quiet Places and Wilderness" handout), we are increasingly overrun by the sounds of man.

We must work now to preserve these places or they will soon be gone. As "in wildness is the preservation of the world", so in the quietude of wilderness, we believe, is the preservation of its very essence.

Paul Matzner
Nature Sounds Society

Conservation and Quietude

  Quietude, Wilderness Values and Conservation

Quiet Places & Quietude

Effects of Noise on Wildlife

Overflight Issues

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