Carbon stock enhancement in tropical soils: “Terra Preta” points the way
This “Terra Preta Nova” project, now in its seventh year at an experimental site in Tailândia, state of Pará
SANTARÉM - On December 12, 2009, USAID/Brazil Deputy Director and Environment Coordinator Eric Stoner, together with the great-granddaughter of Theodore Roosevelt, archeologist Anna Roosevelt, visited an on-going excavation in Santarém, state of Pará, at a site adjacent to the Cargill grain terminal. http://www.acroosevelt.net/ http://www.nytimes.com/1996/04/23/science/scientist-at-work-anna-c-roose...
Dr. Roosevelt’s early conclusions show that this site, at the confluence of the Tapajós and Amazon Rivers, supported several indigenous civilizations dating back 11,000 years. The strongest evidence for long-term indigenous presence, revealed in excavations at the Cargill site, is a thick layer of carbon-rich “Terra Preta” soil, heavily laden with pottery shreds.
USAID/Brazil, in collaboration with U.S. Embassy Public Affairs, submitted a “FY2010 Large Grant” project proposal to the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, proposing establishment of an “Amazon Basin Cultural Heritage Center” at this site, as a public-private partnership between Cargill, the University of Illinois at Chicago and the new Federal University of Western Pará.
Later, on December 14, in Belém, Dr. Stoner met with Museu Goeldi geoarcheologist Dirse Kern and her team, engaged in an Amazon-wide network of researchers attempting to re-create the “Terra Preta” (black soil known in English as “Amazonian dark earth”), by enriching degraded soils with wood and slaughterhouse waste. http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Feb06/AAAS.terra.preta.ssl.html
This “Terra Preta Nova” project, now in its seventh year at an experimental site in Tailândia, state of Pará, is demonstrating that it may be possible to re-create, in degraded tropical soils, favorable conditions to enhancement of carbon stocks while improving soil fertility for smallholders. As part of an approach to achieving climate-stabilizing sustainable landscapes, USAID/Brazil is proposing, within its new 2010-2014 strategy, to explore opportunities to enhance carbon stocks in forests as well as in soils.