When a Tree Falls in the Rainforest..

When a Tree Falls in the Rainforest..Celebrating three decades of Pulse of the Planet, here’s a program from our archives.musicIn the rainforest of Papua, New Guinea, when the Bosavi people need to clear an area to make a garden, they work together in a group, felling a circle of trees. And they use sound to help them. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Ambience, rainforestFeld: “It’s midmorning now, and men are clearing a garden, principally with steel axes, but also, to some extent, with machetes.”Steve Feld is director of the Center for Folklore and Ethnomusicology at the University of Texas in Austin. Feld: “When men clear a garden, they plan to knock down large trees. Then those trees take other smaller trees with them. They clear from an outside perimeter inward. So, the trees fall on top of each other, all pointing in in a large, somewhat circular area. And this is how a garden is made.””What we’re hearing, with all of the whoops and hollers, is actually something that’s very coordinated even though it sounds chaotic. The men are coordinating work in time and space with each other by the whooping that they’re doing. With the whooping, everybody knows which direction the trees are going to fall in. Because the men cannot see each other, it is through sound that they’re communicating and coordinating their work so that they fell these trees in the most efficient manner.”This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. Im Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

When a Tree Falls in the Rainforest..

..You'd better be listening! This archival program is part of Pulse of the Planet's 30th anniversary celebration. Steven Feld is currently Senior Scholar at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Air Date:06/06/2018
Scientist:
Transcript:

When a Tree Falls in the Rainforest..Celebrating three decades of Pulse of the Planet, here's a program from our archives.musicIn the rainforest of Papua, New Guinea, when the Bosavi people need to clear an area to make a garden, they work together in a group, felling a circle of trees. And they use sound to help them. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Ambience, rainforestFeld: "It's midmorning now, and men are clearing a garden, principally with steel axes, but also, to some extent, with machetes."Steve Feld is director of the Center for Folklore and Ethnomusicology at the University of Texas in Austin. Feld: "When men clear a garden, they plan to knock down large trees. Then those trees take other smaller trees with them. They clear from an outside perimeter inward. So, the trees fall on top of each other, all pointing in in a large, somewhat circular area. And this is how a garden is made.""What we're hearing, with all of the whoops and hollers, is actually something that's very coordinated even though it sounds chaotic. The men are coordinating work in time and space with each other by the whooping that they're doing. With the whooping, everybody knows which direction the trees are going to fall in. Because the men cannot see each other, it is through sound that they're communicating and coordinating their work so that they fell these trees in the most efficient manner."This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. Im Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.