Anthropogenic Dark Earths in Africa?


<p>Abstract copyright data collection owner.</p>Research from Amazonia reveals how it supported large farming populations in pre-Hispanic times who improved their naturally infertile soils. Modern farmers value these soils which derive their fertility in part from a high proportion of charred carbon ('biochar'). Soil scientists are researching ways to replicate or mimic these soil improvement practices to support modern farming and sequester atmospheric carbon. Unfolding research concerning these 'Anthropogenic Dark Earths' (ADE) has been confined to Amazonia. Based on preliminary observations in West Africa this research hypothesises that farmers in humid tropical Africa already manipulate soil carbon and associated ecology in similar ways. The research unites ecological anthropologists, historians and soil scientists from the UK, West Africa and the USA, and focuses on research sites in the forest region of Ghana, Liberia and Republic of Guinea. Participant observation and historical research will reveal the processes of carbon enrichment and associated agro-ecological transformation that are significant in West African farming, and how farmers distinguish, value and use these soils. Soil and archaeological analysis will discern how far such soils share characteristics with Amazonian ADE. Findings will support strategies to promote sustainable farming, and strategies to enhance the sequestration of carbon in tropical agro-ecosystems

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Last time updated on 2/8/2017

This paper was published in UK Data Service ReShare.

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