Biologists from Boise State University have been making noise in the forests of the western American state of Idaho. They are making noise to study the value of quiet in nature. They want to know how people and animals react to noise pollution.

    The researchers placed outdoor speakers on the side of a half-kilometer-long part of a road in the Boise National Forest. For two years, they played the sounds of passing cars through the speakers. Professor Jesse Barber of Boise State University says they found the sounds caused migratory birds to flee. The birds also failed to gain weight.
    研究人员在博伊西市国家森林一条半公里长的道路两侧安放了户外扬声器。他们通过扬声器播放汽车过往的声音已达两年时间。博伊西州立大学的杰西·巴伯(Jesse Barber)教授表示,他们发现这些声音导致了候鸟逃离。这些鸟儿也没有长胖。

    Recently, researchers played sounds of machines that are used to remove natural gas from the ground.

    That sound is heard in natural gas fields throughout the American West.

    Professor Barber says these experiments are designed to help researchers learn the effects of noise pollution on birds, insects, bats, plants and people.

    "We are testing the idea that these things are coupled -- that as the soundscape gets louder, wildlife suffers. But that also feeds back on to how much people get out of that experience, how much they value it, and thus how much they are willing to protect that same place."

    The research team also studied a group of volunteers who watch birds for fun. Mitch Levenhagen is a graduate student in the research team. He measured how much the artificial noise lessened the ability of the birdwatchers to identify recorded bird songs.
    该科研小组还研究了一群以观鸟为乐的志愿者。米奇·莱芬哈根(Mitch Levenhagen)是该科研小组的一名研究生。他测量了多少人为噪音会降低观鸟爱好者识别已记录的鸟类歌曲的能力。

    He recorded eight songs in the noise condition and eight songs in the quiet.

    He then repeated the experiment without the artificial noise. The birdwatchers were happy when the noise machine was shut off.

    The birdwatchers said the artificial noise affected their ability to identify bird sounds more than they thought it would. Birdwatcher Jim Lyons said the experiment caused him to value quiet more.
    观鸟爱好者们表示,人为噪音对他们识别鸟类声音能力的影响比他们预想的要大得多。观鸟爱好者吉姆·莱昂斯(Jim Lyons)表示,该实验让他更加珍视安静。

    "The whole thing has been ear-opening, shall we say. To be part of this is very stimulating, very interesting. I am going to think about it from now on."

    Volunteer Janice Engle said she, too, likes the quiet.
    志愿者贾尼斯·恩格尔(Janice Engle)表示她也喜欢安静。

    "I moved out of the city to a little place in the country where I wanted it to be quiet. I greatly value that. It is hard to find those places more and more. There are lots of ways to mitigate sound. But it is trade-off. There is always a cost. And it comes down to people's values. What do we value more."

    The National Park Service is paying for some noise pollution research. The federal agency is also examining other ways to reduce noise. They include putting new surfaces on roads. And they are creating quiet areas with signs telling visitors to turn off their mobile phones.

    Next year, Mr. Levenhagen and Professor Barber will go to Northern California to ask visitors at Muir Woods National Monument and other parks how they feel about noise.

    I'm Jim Tedder.
    我是吉姆·特德(Jim Tedder)。(51VOA.COM对本文翻译保留全部权利,未经授权请勿转载,违者必究!)