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Terra Preta: Could This Be the Key to End World Hunger and Saving the Rainforest?

The discovery made by ancient Amazonians more then 500 years ago has the ability to change any soil into the most fertile in the world. This discovery will increase agriculture production on less land, help solve world hunger and save the rain forest.

Terra preta (which means "dark soil" in Portuguese), or Terra prĂtta do Ăndio, refers to expanses of very dark soils found in the Amazon Basin. They are also known as Amazonian dark earths.


Terra preta is distinguished from "terra comum," or "common soil," which refers to the reddish or yellowish ferralsols that predominate under tropical soils. Terra preta is believed to be the result of past indigenous activities in the forest and is thus considered to be anthropic and/or anthropogenic, possibly from a pre-Columbian civilization. It seems to be comprised of low temperature charcoal, pottery shreds, plant residues, animal feces, fish bones, and perhaps some biological agent like a special ecosystem of healthy microorganisms. Because they are very rich in nutrients they are explored and used as compost by Amazonian local farmers and "caboclos."

The origin of the Amazonian dark earths is not entirely clear and several theories have been considered. These soils were originally postulated to result from ash fall from volcanoes in the Andes since they occur more frequently on the brows of higher terraces. Another theory considered is formation as a result of sedimentation in Tertiary lakes or in recent ponds. Because of their elevated charcoal content, it is now widely accepted that these soils are a product of indigenous soil management involving a labor intensive technique termed slash-and-char. The technique is differentiated from slash and burn by a lower temperature burn and in being a tool for soil improvement. Amending soil with low temperature charcoal produced from a mix of wood and leafy biomass (termed bio-char) has been observed to increase the activity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.

About 10% of the original terra comum appears to have converted to Terra preta. Whether all Amazonian dark earth was intentionally created for soil improvement or whether the lightest variants are a by-product of habitation is not clear at present time. This is in part due to the varied features of the dark earths throughout the Amazon Basin.

Quest Innovations & Research is currently researching and developing a way to implement this new discovery to relieve the growing food needs being experienced world wide.

Other projects being developed are a water hydration system that will eliminate the need to pump water from the ground or dam rivers. The perpetual electrical energy unit will provide an endless source of clean energy. The hydroponics system will use Terra preta as a basis to produce and increase food supplies world wide. These and many other projects are being researched and developed.

Please visit Quest Innovations & Research at www.questinnovations.net and participate in collaboration with individuals, groups, communities, organizations, businesses, agencies and nations to help life survive on planet Earth.

Submitted by:

Gerald Flores

Gerald Flores began Quest Innovation & Research as a means of bringing people and organizations together to help solve the enviromental issues facing all life on this world. He has composed some alarming information on global warming and its effects. More information can be found at www.questinnovations.net.


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