Dr. Antoinette WinklerPrins Publishes Book Chapter
Dr. Antoinette WinklerPrins, Director for Environmental Programs, recently published a chapter in The Soil Underfoot: Infinite Possibilities for a Finite Resource edited by G. Jock Churchman and Edward R. Landa. Titled “Terra Preta: The Mysterious Soils of the Amazon”, Dr. WinklerPrins’ chapter explores Terra Preta (black earth) soils and the future of the Amazon region.
“Terra Preta (TP), Portuguese for black earth, are part of a continuum of soils often referred to as Amazonian Dark Earths, Archaeologic Dark Earths, or Anthropogenic Dark Earths,” said Dr. WinklerPrins. Current thinking is that these soils exist in the landscape as a consequence of human activity, either through incidental activity such as the accumulation of human waste, or as the result of deliberate action, most likely associated with long-term sedentary farming. These soils represent significant human agency on the Amazon landscape. Click here to download the complete chapter.
The Amazon Basin encompasses over 2.7 million square miles belonging to nine nations. Recording where TP soils exist within this vast area has been a challenge for scientists. Dr. WinklerPrins and her colleague Dr. Stephen Aldrich of Indiana State University, maintain the leading interactive Geographic Information Systems (GIS) resource documenting the known locations of TP soils. Their article, “Locating Amazonian Dark Earths: Creating an interactive GIS of known locations” was published in the Journal of Latin American Geography in 2010. Click here to download the article.
Interested in learning more about Amazonian soil mapping and checking out Dr. WinklerPrins’ GIS data? Directions and information about access can be found in the article linked above.
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