Do acoustic indices reflect the characteristics of bird communities in the savannas of Central Brazil?

Ricardo B Machado, Ludmilla M D S Aguiar, Gareth Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)
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Habitat loss and fragmentation represent two of the most significant threats to biodiversity. In some regions, like the Brazilian Cerrado, the deforestation rate can reach nearly 1 million hectares per year. Ecoacoustics and acoustic indices can be used to promote rapid assessments in threatened regions. We evaluated how two particular indices (the acoustic diversity index − ADI − and normalized difference soundscape index − NDSI) reflect bird species richness and composition in a protected area near Brasilia city. We hypothesised that ADI should reflect the characteristics of birds in the cerrado and in the gallery forest, i.e., with higher values in gallery forest than in the cerrado. Based on habitat structure, we also hypothesised that NDSI should be lower in less complex habitat, and lower in areas close to urbanized areas. We assessed 30 locations by installing automatic recorders to generate 15 min wave files (48 kHz, 16 bits, stereo). Manual inspection of the files revealed the presence of 107 bird species (74 in gallery forest and 47 in cerrado). Our results showed that ADI was significantly associated with species richness, being higher in gallery forest than in the cerrado. We found that NDSI values were lower in areas close to highways, an important source of impact for bird diversity. We argue that acoustic indices are a valid approach for rapid biodiversity assessment, however basic knowledge on species occurrences is essential to interpret the values provided by these indices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-43
Number of pages8
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Early online date21 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • Cerrado
  • Woodland savanna
  • Bioacoustics
  • Ecoacoustics
  • Birds
  • Biodiversity monitoring


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