It has long been proven that noise pollution has an impact on animals. They say birds sing at higher frequencies, bats have trouble finding prey, frogs have trouble finding mates, and whales speak louder to communicate with each other.
The world becomes even noisier due to human activity like construction, infrastructure development, machinery, urban growth, etc.
A recent study shows that noise also has negative effects on trees and plants. Its effect can last for a long time, even after the noises stop. Noise pollution, scientists say, can cause long-term problems that could alter the habitat of a wide range of animal species.
Animals and plants live together. Animals play a vital role as seed dispersers or in the reproduction of plant species around the world.
In 2007, American researchers examined two species of trees exposed to high noise levels from natural gas wells. They found that noise interrupts seed dispersal of tree species because it drives away the animals responsible for seed dispersal. A more recent study suggests that there are also fewer saplings in noisy environments than in quiet areas.
There is a difference, however, in previously noisy areas that have become quiet as some animals tend to return to these places. But it’s not always the case.
Noise-sensitive animals learn to avoid noisy environments. Some animals have long-term memories and can remember such places, which they will refuse to visit in the future.
The researchers noted that removing noise does not always translate into restoration of ecological function. Some plants can adapt, others not, depending on the evolution of the animals around them.
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