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(The Guardian) Noise pollution is drowning out nature even in protected areas – study

EXCERPT: The sounds of the natural world are being overwhelmed by the blare of human activity, even in protected wildlife areas, new research has revealed.

The racket is not only harming people’s enjoyment of natural havens, which are known to have significant benefits for both physical and mental health, but it is also affecting wildlife, with animals less able to escape predators and birds less able to find mates.

Scientists used over one million hours of sound recordings from 492 locations in protected areas in the US to calculate that in about two-thirds of places, the noise pollution from human activities was double the background sound levels. A fifth of the protected areas suffered human noise levels that were 10 times background levels, the researchers found.

…In the areas defined as wilderness, which are meant to entirely to be “untrammeled by man”, according to US law, 12% still experienced a doubling of background noise due to human activities. The problem of noise also seriously affected the habitat of endangered species, such as the San Marcos salamander and San Bernardino kangaroo rat.

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