Prehistorically modified soils of central Amazonia : a model for sustainable agriculture in the 21st century

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Bruno Glaser


Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Volume 362, Number 1478, p.187-196 (2007)



Amazonian Dark Earths, C sequestration, Charcoal, humid tropics, Slash and char, Terra Preta


Terra Preta soils of central Amazonia exhibit approximately three times more soil organic matter, nitrogen and phosphorus and 70 times more charcoal compared to adjacent infertile soils. The Terra Preta soils were generated by pre-Columbian native populations by chance or intentionally adding large amounts of charred residues (charcoal), organic wastes, excrements and bones. In this paper, it is argued that generating new Terra Preta sites (