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Effects of Noise Levels in Urban Parks on Species Richness

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Studies
Wordcount: 2450 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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 Noise level in urban parks effects of specie richness


  Urban areas are expanding. Researching urban areas and the effect off wildlife is becoming important. The amount of noise-level can impact species richness in urban parks. Motion-activated cameras were able to spot the wildlife richness in the Urban Parks. To collect the noise-level in each urban park we recorded the amount of decibels 4 times and took the average to. There was a variety of specie richness that was found. All the site were mid noise-levels. When combined noise-level average (independent) and specie richness (dependent) there was no trends or correlation. The result were inconclusive. The experiment showed no relationship between noise-level and specie richness.


 Human environment is continuously growing. Urban areas are expanding and becoming a threat to wildlife ecosystems and biodiversity. Through urban parks human and wildlife interactions are increasing. Researching and keeping track of urban wildlife is important. The benefits of tracking urban wildlife is to make sure ecosystem and biodiversity is cared for and maintained. Humans could possibly help wildlife they can maintain population and lower risks of diseases. Urban areas could child proof properties and reduce damages and create safer neighborhoods for wildlife and humans. Studying wildlife would allow people will be able to properly educate other people and create a mutually beneficial association with wildlife. Human and wildlife conflict as well as stresses could possibly decrease from taking into consideration urban animal habitats and temporal behaviors (Urban Wildlife Working Group 2002). Keeping track of animals will help humans to not interfere with biodiversity and to help stop invasive species from interfering with nature. Policy and laws can authorized to help decrease wildlife and human interaction. City planning’s can planned better that don’t effect wildlife as much. The type of noise-level in urban parks interfere with specie richness. Undesirable or unnatural sound in an environments is often associated with human activities or development (Francis and Barber 2013). Taking away a sensory ability, especially sound, would severally hinder any creature that would normally use that ability on a regular basis. For an animal it could be dangerous and possibly life threatening. Sound impacts a great variety of natural behaviors and reactions ranging from predatory stealth and detection to animal mating calls and vocal deterrents. Lowering the amount of unnecessary sound exposure for future environmental planning would greatly benefit the surrounding ecology and ecosystems of the already existing animals (Francis and Barber 2013).

 Keeping track of the specie richness and measuring noise-level in urban wildlife is crucial for biodiversity. The next step would be to take a look at the correlation between the noise level effects on the wildlife richness.


Materials needed: (Some optional)

  • Decibels meter app on phone
  • Transportation to get to parks (optional)
  • Spartan-Go Camera (need proper permits and approvals to place camera in parks)
  • Cable wires or Nylon straps
  • FAS Tablet
  • Mesh screen Pouch

Site Selection:

Pins=location of Urban Parks (Total=40 Parks)

Orange Pins=Jefferson County Park

Green Pins=Pleasant Valley Metropolitan District

Purple Pins=Prospect Recreation and Park District

Blue Pins=Lakewood Parks

Red Pins=Denver Parks

Yellow Pins=Aurora Parks

Figure 1. Urban Parks Map Locations in Colorado

Along Colfax (the line above) are pins that represents 40 Urban/ partially rural parks from East to West.

Each color switch along the line represent 5km ranging from urban and rural areas.

Yellow and Green line =20km

Orange and Blue line=20km

 Each sites was distributed at least 1km apart for independence 

The site are picked by picking sites in a city. Then the sites will eventually expand to rural areas from East to West. The sites stay among a transect line that is East to West. Denver is the city and Colfax is the transect line (Figure 1). The closer the sites are to the city the more Urban the parks will be. The parks will become rural as the sites get farther away from the city.

Camera Deployment:

Each site a Spartan Go-Cam was placed on a tree or post. Permits were registered to allow cameras in camera sites. These cameras are motion-activated and heat censored. Every time they are set off they take a picture. Also the cameras take pictures every 30 seconds (Figure 2). In front of the Spartan Go-Cam is a Fatty Acid Scent tablets that is 3-5 meters away. These tablets let off a foul odor that targets and attract carnivores. The specie richness will be collected through the camera’s taking pictures of the wildlife. The camera show the type of wildlife species that are around these urban/rural parks.

Data Collection:

To collect the noise-level data each group was randomly assigned a camera location of the 40 sites. Within a week each group recorded the amount of decibels at a random time at their park. The app Decibel X for Android or free decibel meter app for Apple was used to take 4 measurements of the camera sites. After the measurements were averaged to get the most accurate noise level in the park.

Data Analysis:

The type of research that we are doings is finding out if the amount of noise-level in urban parks affect wildlife richness. Results and a correlation will be able to spotted collecting the average noise-level for each site and the camera collecting the specie richness. Collecting data of noise-level in urban parks and collecting data of amount of specie richness through the Spartan Go-Cam we could place these variables in a scatterplot graph and see if there is a visual correlation.


  Longitude was used to organize the sites to go east to west. Each camera at the set location picked up the Specie Richness (dependent variable). Each site had at least 1 in specie richness. The mode of Specie richness in the city (Denver) was 1 to 2. There was a few of higher specie richness in the city between 3 and 5. The sites in the west “The aurora parks” had higher amounts of specie richness up to 4 to 5 and those parks were urban/ partially rural the farther the went out west. The farther out the sites were from city the higher amount of specie richness there was of course with a few exceptions of some with low specie richness. The east there wasn’t much of a difference from the city the most common specie richness was 1 to 2. There were a few of parks that had 3 to 5 specie richness. Based off the graph there was a variety of different wildlife species richness across all 40 sites (Figure 3. Longitude vs Specie Richness)

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 Longitude was used to organize parks to go east to west. The most common noise level was ranging from 50 to 75dB. Which would describe the noise level at the parks as a mid-noise level. There was a variety of range of different noises-levels at the park. They were all mid-noise level (40 to 90 decibels). None of the sites were low-noise level (0-40 decibels) or high noise-level (90+ decibels). (Figure 4. Longitude vs. Noise-level)

 The independent variable is the average noise-level and that would affect dependent variable amount of specie richness. Based off the scatterplot the amount of noise-level didn’t affect the amount of specie richness. There was no trend or correlation that was visible in the graph. The amount of specie richness was not affected by the amount noise-level. The results on the scatterplot was inconclusive.  (Figure 5. Noise-Level vs. Specie Richness)

Figure 3. Longitude vs. Specie Richness

The scatter plot above shows the sites were organized from east to west with the amount of wildlife species richness were seen. Each site had different varieties of specie richness that the camera picked up at each park location.


Figure 4. Longitude vs. Average Noise-Level

Above is a scatterplot. On the x-axis is the longitude of the sites from East to West. The y-axis is the average noise-level in decibels. By looking at the graph and using the key each site ranges is mid noise-level. The sites are especially grouped to 50 to 75 decibels range. From each site there is not a variety of different noise-levels. There is no high or low noise-level to compare our sites data to

 Low Noise-Level= 0-40 Decibels

Mid Noise-Level=40-90 Decibels

High Noise-Level= 90+ Decibels

Trend line of Noise-Levels

Figure 5. Average Noise-Level vs. Specie Richness

Both variables from the research questions “Does the amount of noise-level affect wildlife richness?” were put in a scatter plot. The average noise-level was the independent variable and was put on the x-axis. The Specie Richness was the dependent variable and was put on the y-axis. Based off the data there was no correlation or trend. The results were inconclusive.

Low Noise-Level= 0-40 Decibels

Mid Noise-Level=40-90 Decibels

High Noise-Level= 90+ Decibels



 As urban areas are growing understanding how noise-level effects wildlife richness is a huge factor to make sure human are not disrupting wildlife biodiversity and ecosystems. 


 Based off the results there is no conclusive evidence that noise-level effects species richness. There is no pattern, trend or correlation that is shown. According to graph Figure 5 each site was mid noise-level. In urban parks mid-noise level does not affect specie richness. Overall the results in the experiment proved that noise-level and specie richness have no relationship in urban parks.

Assumptions and Limitations:

Some important limitations that are linked to an inconclusive conclusions is all the site locations was mid noise-level; there was no high or low noise-level. Without high or low noise level there is nothing to compare are mid-noise-levels data to. To come to a better conclusion and possibly find a relationship between noise-level and specie richness more data and research will have to be completed. A crucial reason that the results were inconclusive is there could be an abundant of variables that interfered with the project. Outer variables and variables that aren’t known is hard to control in the experiments. Creating a controlled experiment and coming out with the same results will be very difficult and almost impossible to replicate. Ecology systems are complicated and difficult to understand. Especially urban ecology where it depends on the influences of humans and human activity that could impact the urban areas (Frid and Dil 2002). Another factor could be the FAS tablets could possibly be a variable that is affecting the experiment. The FAS tablets could be repelling species from the camera locations. The time of year and season could affect the specie richness. Some animals could be in hibernation or migrate during the winter time. Winter overall could affect the specie richness and noise-level in urban parks. There were multiple assumptions and limitations that affected the experiment.

Future Directions:

 To create this experiment to be more informative to the research question “If noise-level would affect species richness?” a suggestion that would provide better results would be if the Spartan go-cams can have a microphone that records the noise-levels throughout the whole day. Then finding the average noise-level will be more ideal and accurate to each urban park.


  • Erin C. McCance, Daniel J. Decker, Anne M. Colturi, Richard K. Baydack,  William F. Siemer, Paul D. Curtis, and Thomas Eason. 2017 Importance of Urban Wildlife Management in the United States and Canada. Mammal Study 42(1) : 1-16

[accessed 2018 Dec 10] http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.3106/041.042.0108

  • Francis, C. D., and J. R. Barber. 2013. A framework for understanding noise impacts on wildlife: an urgent conservation priority. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11:305-313. [accessed 2018 Dec 10]. https://scholarworks.boisestate.edu/bio_facpubs/385/
  • Frid A and Dill LM. 2002. Human-caused disturbance stimuli as a form of predation risk. Conserv Ecol 6: 11. [accessed 2018 Dec 10] https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol6/iss1/art11/
  • The Urban Wildlife Working Group. 2012. [accessed 2018 Dec 10] http://urbanwildlifegroup.org/urban-wildlife-information/


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