The quantitative relation between ambient soundscapes and landscape development intensity in North Central Florida

  • Jenet M. DooleyEmail author
  • Mark T. Brown
Research Article



It is widely accepted that wildlife is subjected to detrimental human noise within urban landscapes but little is known about how the intensity of land use changes soundscapes.


The objective of this research was to produce quantitative associations between characteristics of ambient soundscapes and land use intensity. These relations were used to examine the 2 kHz demarcation between anthrophony and biophony and compare the impact of different sized contributing areas on ambient soundscape characteristics.


This study related the surrounding land use intensity of 67 sites in north central Florida (USA) to several metrics describing their recorded soundscapes. Land use intensity was measured remotely at three scales using the landscape development intensity index (LDI).


The analysis revealed that the LDI index had a statistically significant effect on soundscape characteristics after controlling for important factors such as climate, season, and attenuation due to hard ground. The trends between LDI and soundscape confirmed that human generated sounds are loud, continuous, and occupy low frequencies. The evenness of the sound distribution decreased with landscape intensity and LDI correlated significantly with sound below 3 kHz. Land use intensity within a 100 and 500-m radius contributing area were most closely related to soundscape metrics.


LDI is a tool with the potential to predict the extent and intensity of anthropogenic noise disturbance on wildlife from remote sensing data. The utility of this tool allows for widespread application to identify and mitigate conflicts in the acoustic realm between human noise and wildlife.


Development intensity Soundscape Noise disturbance Biophony Anthrophony Technophony LDI index Power spectral density Remote sensing Ambient sound 



The authors thank Gary Siebein, Peter Frederick, Barron Henderson, Erica Hernandez, and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. This research project received support from the HT Odum Center for Wetlands.

Supplementary material

10980_2019_936_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (23 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 23 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure and Environment, Howard T. Odum Center for WetlandsUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Center for Environmental Policy, Environmental Engineering SciencesUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring InstituteUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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