Dark Earths are a testament to vanished civilizations of the Amazon Basin, but may also answer how large societies could sustain intensive agriculture in an environment of infertile soils. This book examines their origin, properties, and management. Questions remain: were they intentionally produced or a by-product of habitation. Additional new and multidisciplinary perspectives by leading experts may pave the way for the next revolution in soil management in the humid tropics.
From the reviews:
"Two symposia on the Amazonian Dark Earths were held in 2001, and these were followed in 2002 by the First International Workshop on the subject in Manaus and Santerem, Brazil. ... The Workshop succeeded in its aims of bringing a great deal of information from disparate fields of research to a wide international audience. The editors ... provide a ... comprehensive view of current knowledge, understanding, methods of research, and prospects for land management." (R. Webster, European Journal of Soil Science, Vol. 56, 2005)
"Amazonian Dark Earths ... represents the state of the art in the study of archaeological sediments in the Amazon basin. ... The volume, composed of 23 chapters, explores diverse aspects of the origins, properties, and management of Amazonian dark earths (ADE) ... . This volume is a critical contribution to ADE research and of great relevance to archaeology, soil science, and contemporary development. ... the editors and contributors should be congratulated for establishing the benchmark for ADE studies." (Michael J. Heckenberger, Journal of Anthropological Research, Vol. 61, 2005)