Science Fun of the Week

(November 24th, 2017) Get ready for your weekly dose of science fun. Today: Sounds in the Forest.

In Detection of Large Woody Debris Accumulations in Old-Growth Forests Using Sonice Wave Collection, Indiana R. Jones and Ethan Allen ("Et Al" for short) ponder the question, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound" (Cockburn 1988).

Here's the abstract:

"We used directional microphones, professional electronic audio recording equipment and personal observation to monitor the accumulation of large woody debris in old-growth forests of northern Wisconsin from June 1999 through July 2001. We hired a really poor undergraduate student to collect nearly 20,000 hours of audio/video tape in really cool areas in the Chequamegon and Nicolet National Forests. Then we made the poor bastard watch all of the tapes and record the fall of large woody debris. Observation times and decibel values for events were correlated with field reconnaissance of the actual debris. Results show strongly that if a tree does fall in the forest, and no one hears it, it does indeed make a sound. Surveys also showed that out of state recreationalists mispronounced ‘Chequamegon’ in 75% of cases. Wisconsin residents mispronounced the word in 62% of cases, mainly due to alcohol induced slurring."

Last Changes: 12.14.2017