A Free Audio Archive Gathers the Sounds of Forests from All Over the World

September 15, 2020

Tragically, human noise pollution encroaches on the acoustic space of such refuges, and climate change may irrevocably alter their nature.Thanks to the free audio archive Sounds of the Forest,which is an interactive sound map celebrating the noises of forests around the world.

This open source library of nature recordings is run by Timber Festival—a UK-based annual celebration of forests and trees. When the physical festival had to be canceled due to COVID-19, Timber Festival decided to use the power of sound to bring nature-lovers together.

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Nature lovers can contribute their own recordings, helping to fill in the many remaining areas on the map without representation. “Visit a woodland,” the project recommends, “recharge under the canopy and record your sounds of the forest.” The site gives specific instructions for how to upload audio file submissions.

Open the sound map, click on a file, close your eyes, and imagine yourself in Nelson Lakes National Park in New Zealand, Yasuni National Park at night in Ecuador, or Chernyaevsky Forest in Russia. Experiencing the busy silences of nature brings us back to ourselves—or to the ancient parts of ourselves that once also harmonized with the natural world.