Terra Preta de Indio
Biochar Soil Management
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Terra Preta - References

Very few comprehensive information was available on Amazonian Dark Earths until recently. This gap was now closed with the publication of a book on Amazonian Dark Earths: Origin, Properties, Management edited by Lehmann, Kern, Glaser, Woods and published by Kluwer Ac. Publishers in 2003.

A special issue of the papers on Amazonian Dark Earths presented at the Conference of Latin American Geographers in Benicassim, Spain, in 2001, was edited by Glaser and Woods Amazonian Dark Earths: Explorations in Space and Time at Springer in 2004, and in 2009, Woods, Teixeira, Lehmann, Steiner, WinklerPrins and Rebellato puvlished a volume titled "Amazonian Dark Earths: Wim Sombroek’s Vision" with Springer.

In 2009, we published the first book solely on biochar titled "Biochar for Environmental Management: Science and Technology" edited by J. Lehmann and S. Joseph, which contains a comprehensive and current analysis of biochar science and technology.

The Cornell Soil Biogeochemistry Group developed the Science Brief flyer posted here to give quick and accessible information about the subject of Terra Preta.


The following list contains a short selection of publications to get familiar with the topic of Amazonian Dark Earths. More publications can be found on the web pages of the Museo Goeldi. (click here for the pdf file from the web page of the Museo Goeldi)

Denevan WM 1996 A bluff bodel of riverine settlement in prehistoric Amazonia. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 86: 654-681.

Eden MJ, Warwick B, Herrera L and McEwan C 1984 Terra Preta soils and their archeological context in the Caqueta basin of southeast Colombia. American Antiquity 49: 125-140.

Glaser B, Haumaier L, Guggenberger G, Zech W 2001 The Terra Preta phenomenon - a model for sustainable agriculture in the humid tropics. Naturwissenschaften 88: 37-41.

Glaser B and Woods WI 2004 Amazonian Dark Earths: Explorations in Space and Time. Springer, Berlin.

Lehmann J, da Silva Jr. JP, Steiner C, Nehls T, Zech W and Glaser B 2003 Nutrient availability and leaching in an archaeological Anthrosol and a Ferralsol of the Central Amazon basin: fertilizer, manure and charcoal amendments. Plant and Soil 249: 343-357 (pdf file).

Lehmann J, Kern DC, Glaser B, Woods WI 2003 Amazonian Dark Earths: Origin, Properties, Management. Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands, 505p.

Lima da Costa M and Kern DC 1999 Geochemical signatures of tropical soils with archaeological black earth in the Amazon, Brazil. Journal of Geochemical Exploration 66: 369-385.

McCann JM, Woods WI and Meyer DW 2001 Organic matter and anthrosols in Amazonia: interpreting the Amerindian legacy. In: Rees RM, Ball BC, Campbell DC and Watson CA (eds.) Sustainable Management of Soil Organic Matter. CAB International, Wallinford, UK, pp. 180- 189.

Petersen JB, Neves EG and Heckenberger MJ 2001 Gift from the past: Terra preta and prehistoric amerindian occupation in Amazonia. In: McEwan C (ed.) Unknown Amazonia. British Museum, London, pp. 86-105.

Smith NJH 1980 Anthrosols and human carrying capacity in Amazonia. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 70: 553-566.

Sombroek WG, Nachtergaele FO and Hebel A 1993 Amounts, dynamics and sequestering of carbon in tropical and subtropical soils. Ambio 22: 417-426.

Woods W and McCann JM 1999 The anthropogenic origin and persistence of Amazonian dark earths. Yearbook, Conference of Latin American Geographers 25: 7-14.

Bio-char and Terra Preta in the popular press:
Numerous articles, radio and tv shows featured terra preta and bio-char in recent years. A combined set of media coverage on biochar and Terra preta over the past years can be found on our web page "In the Media". Especially in the wake of our presentations at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in January 2006 and at the World Congress of Soil Science in July 2006, several articles appeared in the press.