Amazonian Dark Earths: Origin, Properties, Management / Edition 1

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Amazonian Dark Earths are not only a testament to the vanished civilizations of the Amazon Basin, but may provide the answer to how the large, sophisticated societies were able to sustain intensive agriculture in an environment with mostly infertile soils. Locally known as Terra Preta de Indio or Indian black earth, these anomalous soils are even today fertile and highly productive. Though clearly associated with pre-European settlements questions remain whether the Dark Earths were intentionally produced or merely a by-product of habitation activities. This publication provides a comprehensive review of our current understanding of these fascinating soils: their origin, properties, and management through time. These new and multidisciplinary perspectives by leading experts on Amazonian Dark Earths may pave the way for the next revolution of soil management in the humid tropics.

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Editorial Reviews

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From the reviews:

"Two symposia on the Amazonian Dark Earths were held in 2001, and these were followed in 2002 by the First International Workshop on the subject in Manaus and Santerem, Brazil. … The Workshop succeeded in its aims of bringing a great deal of information from disparate fields of research to a wide international audience. The editors … provide a … comprehensive view of current knowledge, understanding, methods of research, and prospects for land management." (R. Webster, European Journal of Soil Science, Vol. 56, 2005)

"Amazonian Dark Earths … represents the state of the art in the study of archaeological sediments in the Amazon basin. … The volume, composed of 23 chapters, explores diverse aspects of the origins, properties, and management of Amazonian dark earths (ADE) … . This volume is a critical contribution to ADE research and of great relevance to archaeology, soil science, and contemporary development. … the editors and contributors should be congratulated for establishing the benchmark for ADE studies." (Michael J. Heckenberger, Journal of Anthropological Research, Vol. 61, 2005)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402018398
  • Publisher: Springer Netherlands
  • Publication date: 1/28/2004
  • Edition description: 2003
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 505
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.74 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Table of Contents

Discovering Amazonian Dark Earths.- Development of Anthrosol Research.- Historical Perspectives on Amazonian Dark Earths.- Historical and Socio-cultural Origins of Amazonian Dark Earth.- Distribution of Amazonian Dark Earths in the Brazilian Amazon.- Classification of Amazonian Dark Earths and Other Ancient Anthropic Soils.- Properties of Amazonian Dark Earths.- Soil Fertility and Production Potential.- Amazonian Dark Earths as Carbon Stores and Sinks.- Soil Organic Matter Stability in Amazonian Dark Earths.- Agrobiodiversity in Amazônia and Its Relationship with Dark Earths.- Ethnoscientific Understandings of Amazonian Dark Earths.- Methods for Characterization of Amazonian Dark Earths.- Archaeobotanical Methods for the Study of Amazonian Dark Earths.- Organic Chemistry Studies on Amazonian Dark Earths.- The Use of Micromorphology for the Study of the Formation and Properties of Amazonian Dark Earths.- Determining Nutrient Bioavailability of Amazonian Dark Earth Solis — Methodological Challenges.- Soil Physical Characterization.- Amazonian Dark Earths Biological Measurements.- Pedogeochemical and Mineralogical Analyses of Amazonian Dark Earths.- Amazonian Dark Earth Management.- Indigenous Soil Management and the Creation of Amazonian Dark Earths: Implications of Kayapó Practice.- Cultural Behaviors of Indigenous Populations and the Formation of the Archaeological Record in Amazonian Dark Earths: The Asurini do Xingú Case Study.- Contemporary Use and Management of Amazonian Dark Earths.- The Effect of Management of the Fertility of Amazonian Dark Earth Soils.- Weed Population Dynamics and Management on Amazonian Dark Earth.- Historical Ecology and Future Explorations.

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