[Market-farming] Tera Preta Soil Technology

Bill Bradshaw billbradshaw at hughes.net
Thu Feb 8 22:08:10 EST 2007

Marlin,I too have read about this some years back, I thought it something 
great at the time but could not find much about it. Please keep us posted on 
what you find. My soil can use all the help it can get. Bill

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Christine & Marlin" <glenecofarm at planetcomm.net>
To: "'Market Farming'" <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Thursday, February 08, 2007 8:39 PM
Subject: [Market-farming] Tera Preta Soil Technology

> Recently I was contacted by someone in our area about a soil enriching
> technology apparently practiced over 1000 years ago by indigenous peoples 
> in
> parts of the Amazon River Basin in Brazil.  This technology involved the
> production of charcoal and incorporating it into the soil to build high
> fertility that has endured until modern times.  These soils are known as
> "Tera Preta" soils and occur in specific areas where the technology was
> applied.
> I have always thought Amazonian soils in general are not very fertile and
> quickly lose what fertility they do have when the rain forest is cleared 
> and
> they are exposed to modern agricultural technology and to the high 
> leaching
> conditions of the tropical high seasonal rainfall patterns.
> I find this interesting enough to spend a little time digging for more
> information on the Internet.  I am having some difficulty understanding 
> how
> this "carbon sequestering" technology would have worked and how it would
> apply to agricultural soil management in this part of the world.  I am 
> also
> wondering how I could have missed learning about Tera Preta during the 
> years
> that I studied Agronomy at the university level.  Is there real science
> behind this or is this another form of "Hooey" that can often be found
> circulating around the world?
> I would be interested in what some others of you think or know.
> Marlin Burkholder
> Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
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