This article presents a unifying theory of soundscape ecology, which brings the idea of the soundscape—the collection of sounds that emanate from landscapes—into a research and application focus. Our conceptual framework of soundscape ecology is based on the causes and consequences of biological (biophony), geophysical (geophony), and human-produced (anthrophony) sounds. We argue that soundscape ecology shares many parallels with landscape ecology, and it should therefore be considered a branch of this maturing field. We propose a research agenda for soundscape ecology that includes six areas: (1) measurement and analytical challenges, (2) spatial-temporal dynamics, (3) soundscape linkage to environmental covariates, (4) human impacts on the soundscape, (5) soundscape impacts on humans, and (6) soundscape impacts on ecosystems. We present case studies that illustrate different approaches to understanding soundscape dynamics. Because soundscapes are our auditory link to nature, we also argue for their protection, using the knowledge of how sounds are produced by the environment and humans.
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