Seminar - Rivers, Humans and the carbon-rich soils of the ancient Amazon

Speaker: Dr. Taylor Perron - Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) – Earth Atmospheric & Planetary Sciences. | Tuesday 12 Mach 2024 – 4,30 PM | Arduino Classroom


Archaeological evidence suggests that humans built thriving agricultural societies in the ancient Amazon, in part by creating carbon-rich soils that remain fertile even today.

However, it is unknown how extensive these soils are or whether they were created intentionally. I will show how South American river systems created a template for this successful agricultural strategy, argue that ancient people managed soil using practices that are still employed today by Amazonian indigenous groups, and demonstrate the potential for carbon storage in anthropogenic soils.

Along the way, I will consider the climate sensitivity of rivers and some lessons from the past about sustainable tropical agriculture.