Research topics

To achieve the objectives of the program nine research topics have been defined. Research topics are multi/interdisciplinary in scope and are closely related to each other.  These topics will allow to focus on the socially constructed nature of Terra Preta and will allow to connect different time scales (through studies on palaeo-economy, palaeo-agronomy and ethno-ecology that link indigenous knowledge on resources with science-based management). In that way our understanding of the past will provide not only an inspiration, but also the necessary knowledge for creating soils that allow sustainable and productive agriculture.

The nine research topics are:

1.   Terra Preta, forest composition and forest dynamics

2.   Institutional and policy aspects of Terra Preta (Nova) production, use and management

3 & 9.   Farmers’ perception and actual use of the fertility of Terra Preta

4.   The creation of Terra Preta Nova

5.   Assessing the impact of Terra Preta Nova on carbon budgets

6.   Looking into the palaeo-economic origin of Terra Preta

7.   Reconstructing the origin of Terra Preta – a mechanistic, stoichiometric nutrient balance approach

8.   Soil biota in Terra Preta soils


 For a schematic diagram on how the research topics are connected to each other see:


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