fredag 26 augusti 2011

Terra preta-forskare på ingång: Bill Woods

Om en dryg vecka dyker Bill Woods upp i Stockholm och Uppsala. Han är en av de ledande forskarna på den människoskapade jordmånen terra preta i Amazonas och vi jobbar också ihop i projektet Mapping Global Agricultural  History. Det är det livaktiga WHEN-seminariet och Christian Isendahl som har lockat hit honom denna gång. På tisdagen den 6 september ger han ett seminarium i Uppsala i WHENs regi. Så här skriver Christian Isendahl:


Tuesday, September 6, 2011 at 16.15-18.00
Geijer Lecture Hall on Campus Engelska Parken, Thunbergsvägen 3H, Uppsala

Without major amendments tropical soils are generally considered to offer poor prospects for agricultural development. Amazonian soils represent a textbook case. Soil quality equals destiny in many readings of Amazonia?s past, present, and future. Yet in the past few decades archaeologists have uncovered evidence of large and complex prehistoric societies in Amazonian environments despite earlier consensus that such development was untenable. More recently, geographers have discovered that these sites coincide with fertile, dark soils termed *terra preta* that occur in a variety of landscape contexts and extents, from patches of less than a hectare to many square kilometers and *terra mulata* that typically are associated with terra preta and usually encompass larger areas. Collectively, both types comprise Amazonian Dark Earths. It is now clear that these soils are anthropic in origin and represent fonts of local environmental knowledge and know-how with ancient roots and contemporary pan-tropical applications. An intriguing property is their apparent persistence, even after cultivation cessation ranging from decades to centuries and possibly millennia. Local people continue to generate these soils with skilled practices, including carbon amendments and microbial management. Both the soils and these practices are important agricultural resources within contemporary Amazonia. They provide a global model for developing long-term future sustainability of food production in lowland tropical environments. They also constitute a significant reservoir for the short- and long-term sequestration of carbon. This lecture will report on the results of multidisciplinary efforts to understand the Amazonian Dark Earths.

William I. Woods is Professor of Geography at the University of Kansas, United States. His primary research interests include abandoned settlements, anthropogenic environmental change, soils and sediments, and traditional settlement-subsistence systems. He has directed archaeological and geographic field investigations in the United States, Middle and South America, and Europe. Professor Woods is a world-leading scholar of archaeological approaches to soils and sediments and has over the last decade published particularly prolifically on anthropogenic soils in the Amazon. Among his numerous publications are *Abandoned Settlement Analysis: Theory and Practice* (with Robert C. Eidt; 1974), *Amazonian Dark Earths: Origin, Properties and Management* (co-editor; Kluwer, 2003), *Amazonian Dark Earths: Explorations in Space and Time* (co-editor; Springer, 2004), and *Amazonian Dark Earths: Wim Sombroek?s Vision* (co-editor; Springer, 2009).

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