1 predominant Amazon soils notoriously infertile poor nutrient capacity Terra PretaConfrontingSoil MineralsCarbonClimate ChangeMystery Soil of the Amazon“dark earth” (Portuguese)Amazon Basin, BrazilLocal farmers prize Terra Pretayields three times greater than adjacent infertile tropical soilssustained fertility in intensive usedug up and sold as potting soilOxisolpredominant Amazon soilsacidicnotoriously infertilevery low carbonpoor nutrient capacityclick tocontinue
2 Terra Preta Carbon Amazon Basin, Brazil Small Patches Age Soil MineralsCarbon“dark earth” (Portuguese)Amazon Basin, BrazilSmall Patchesaverage: 20 hectares (50 acres)up to 350 hectares (865 acres)near settlements & on bluffscultural debrisanimal & fish bonesembedded pottery sherdsAgeyearsradio-carbon dating (charcoal)recent research: 6000 yearsAerial Surveys10% of total land areaable to feed 5-10 million peopleclick tocontinue
3 Terra Preta Charcoal Carbon Amazon Basin, Brazil reduced carbon Soil MineralsCarbonCharcoal“dark earth” (Portuguese)Amazon Basin, Brazilreduced carbonHigh Carbonup to 9%compared with .5% in other soilssometimes over 20%two to six feet deepmost carbon is charcoalHigh NutrientsCation Exchange Capacity (CEC)Calcium (+)Phosphorus (-)Nitrogen (+ / -)High Microbial Activity“microbial reef”Soil Food WebHigh diversity, high stabilityNitrogen-fixing bacteriaclick tocontinue
4 Terra Preta Charcoal Carbon reduced carbon Soil MineralsCarbonCharcoalreduced carbonHow did Amazon natives create these remarkably fertile and productive soils?How did these soils sustain their remarkable productivity for five centuries?What can we learn from these soils to sustain soil productivity today?Can this way to create these tropical soils give insights to improve temperate soils?Can this sequester carbon in soilto help reverse global warming?click tocontinue
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