Listening to a changing landscape: Acoustic indices reflect bird species richness and plot-scale vegetation structure across different land-use types in north-eastern Madagascar

2021 | journal article; research paper. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Listening to a changing landscape: Acoustic indices reflect bird species richness and plot-scale vegetation structure across different land-use types in north-eastern Madagascar​
Dröge, S.; Martin, D. A.; Andriafanomezantsoa, R.; Burivalova, Z.; Fulgence, T. R.; Osen, K. & Rakotomalala, E. et al.​ (2021) 
Ecological Indicators120 art. 106929​.​ DOI: 


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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 CC BY-NC-ND 4.0


Dröge, Saskia; Martin, Dominic Andreas; Andriafanomezantsoa, Rouvah; Burivalova, Zuzana; Fulgence, Thio Rosin; Osen, Kristina; Rakotomalala, Eric; Schwab, Dominik; Wurz, Annemarie; Richter, Torsten; Kreft, Holger 
New technologies like ecoacoustic surveys promise time and cost efficiency for biodiversity assessments, serve as a basis for effective conservation policies, and are particularly appealing for remote and highly diverse tropical areas. Acoustic indices facilitate the analysis of large acoustic datasets but no consensus on their performance has been reached yet. We evaluated the efficacy of four acoustic indices (Acoustic Complexity Index, Acoustic Diversity Index, Acoustic Evenness Index, Acoustic Entropy) for sound data analysis and biodiversity assessments inside a national park and the agricultural mosaic landscape of north-eastern Madagascar, a global biodiversity hotspot. We used self-built sound recorders to continuously record soundscapes on 80 plots across seven land-use types (old-growth forest, forest fragment, forest–derived and fallow-derived vanilla agroforest, herbaceous and woody fallow, rice paddy) and compared index values between land–use types, assessed the correlation with bird species richness as measured by point counts, and related the acoustic indices to plot- and landscape-scale parameters. The Acoustic Diversity Index, Acoustic Evenness Index (inverse) and Acoustic Entropy were highest in old-growth forest and lowest for rice paddies and fallow land. Index values for structurally similar land-use types did not differ significantly from each other. The correlation of the three acoustic indices with bird species richness was strongest during daytime . Differences in the index values were best explained by land-use type and vegetation density. Our results showed that all investigated indices except the Acoustic Complexity Index were suitable biodiversity indicators for a tropical, agricultural landscape. Soundscape diversity was positively affected by plot-scale vegetation structure, emphasizing the importance of forests and particularly old-growth forest for conservation. We demonstrated that acoustic indices and sound recordings are a useful tool for assessing biodiversity in tropical agricultural mosaic landscapes. To realize the full potential of ecoacoustics in conservation, sampling guidelines and user-friendly analysis packages will be key to facilitate a wider implementation.
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Ecological Indicators 
Zentrum für Biodiversität und Nachhaltige Landnutzung ; Fakultät für Forstwissenschaften und Waldökologie ; Burckhardt-Institut ; Abteilung Biodiversität, Makroökologie und Biogeographie ; Abteilung Waldbau und Waldökologie der Tropen 



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