4. The creation of Terra Preta Nova

In Amazonia, anthropogenic soils with high fertility (Terra Preta, Terra Mulata) are of widespread occurrence. These soils are partly used for agricultural purposes.

  1. Classify input sources (char quality) and evaluate the char products obtained by different processes for their physico-chemical properties and biological effects;
  2. Evaluate the most promising products (in combination with mineral fertilizers) in terms of nutrient balances and crop productivity;
  3. Estimate rates of new formation;
  4. Look at options and constraints from the biophysical and socio-economic side. Together with project #5 the project will assess potential trade offs between increased agricultural sustainability and productivity and carbon sequestration, and link these data in a decision model that could affect policy makers and institutional discourses when scaling up local Terra Preta Nova projects. Together with project #5 it provides a framework for further questions such as: To whom would benefits (agricultural production, carbon sequestration) accrue? Who would decide about quantities and rates of charcoal addition to such soils? Who decides in cases here is a trade off between soils as carbon sinks and Terra Preta Nova soils as sources for sustainable agriculture?