Thursday, July 9, 2009

Amazon Mystery and Soil Appreciation

Today is Soil Appreciation Day, with a focus on one very special type:

Deep in the Amazon jungle lie layers of thick, rich soil, dubbed "terra preta," and they abound in mystery.

They are not a natural phenomena. The natural Amazon soil is poor and quickly stripped of nutrients when farmers cultivate it.

The experts are quite sure that terra preta is man-made -- and it is amazing stuff. A thousand years after first being laid down, five hundred years after its creators were exterminated by European weapons and disease, taking the secret of its formulation with them to the grave, this soil is still incredibly rich.

Some people believe that terra preta once enabled a population of millions to inhabit the jungle region, living far more in harmony with the environment than the settlers who replaced them.

Their destruction disgusts me. What a holocaust of humanity and wanton obliteration of wisdom it was! I wonder what other secrets of knowledge perished with them. But careful research is underway to unlock the terra preta formula, which could be a blessing all over the world, just as are the Native American gifts of corn, tomatoes, chocolate, avocadoes, chili peppers, allspice, vanilla, sunflowers, turkeys, chinchilla, quinine, llamas and potatoes.


kat said...

amazing! I have never heard of this! ty for this posting- I must do further reading on it

Eastcoastdweller said...

Sure, Kat!