09 October 2008

Unknown Amazon review by Denis Minev

Unknown Amazon
by Colin McEwan; Christiana Barreto; Eduardo Neves
Edition: Paperback
Availability: In Stock

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
The Amazon rain forest reamins today one of the more mysterious places in world. There are as of yet unknown tribes, the history of the region is only now being uncovered, and the complex nature of its ecosystem is as gradiouse as it is mysterious. 

This book is a collection of articles by different specialists in different fields of study. They are not written as academic articles, but rather as articles accessible to laypeople. The topics include: 
1. The Terra Preta do Indio, a surprisingly fertile soil that appears to have been designed by ancient indians. 
2. The pattern of hunter gatherer movements and how they have constructed their environment so enhance tree species appropriate to their living. 
3. Rock art of ancient Amazonians, along different rivers, much of which is undeciphered. 
4. The history of war clubs in Guyana, among others. 

The book is peppered with pictures that enhance the mysterious nature of the articles and place to the reader questions only now being answered by researchers. I highly recommend it as a book to find out how the Amazon is not yet understood and the vast amount of knowledge yet to be gained by studying it.

1 comment:

  1. The Rest of the Biochar Story:

    Charles Mann ("1491")in the Sept. National Geographic has a wonderful soils article which places Terra Preta / Biochar soils center stage.
    I think Biochar has climbed the pinnacle, the Combined English and other language circulation of NGM is nearly nine million monthly with more than fifty million readers monthly!
    We need to encourage more coverage now, to ride Mann's coattails to public critical mass.

    Please put this (soil) bug in your colleague's ears. These issues need to gain traction among all the various disciplines who have an iron in this fire.

    I love the "MEGO" factor theme Mann built the story around. Lord... how I KNOW that reaction.

    I like his characterization concerning the pot shards found in Terra Preta soils;

    so filled with pottery - "It was as if the river's first inhabitants had
    thrown a huge, rowdy frat party, smashing every plate in sight, then
    buried the evidence."

    A couple of researchers I was not aware of were quoted, and I'll be sending them posts about our Biochar group: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/b...guid=122501696

    and data base;

    I also have been trying to convince Michael Pollan ( NYT Food Columnist, Author ) to do a follow up story, with pleading emails to him

    Since the NGM cover reads "WHERE FOOD BEGINS" , I thought this would be right down his alley and focus more attention on Mann's work.

    I've admiried his ability since "Botany of Desire" to over come the "MEGO" factor (My Eyes Glaze Over) and make food & agriculture into page turners.

    It's what Mann hasn't covered that I thought should interest any writer as a follow up article.

    The Biochar provisions by Sen.Ken Salazar in the 07 farm bill,

    Dr, James Hansen's Global warming solutions paper and letter to the G-8 conference last month, and coming article in Science,

    The many new university programs & field studies, in temperate soils

    Glomalin's role in soil tilth & Terra Preta,

    The International Biochar Initiative Conference Sept 8 in New Castle;

    Given the current "Crisis" atmosphere concerning energy, soil sustainability, food vs. Biofuels, and Climate Change what other subject addresses them all?
    Biochar, the modern version of an ancient Amazonian agricultural practice called Terra Preta (black earth), is gaining widespread credibility as a way to address world hunger, climate change, rural poverty, deforestation, and energy shortages… SIMULTANEOUSLY!

    This technology represents the most comprehensive, low cost, and productive approach to long term stewardship and sustainability.
    Terra Preta Soils a process for Carbon Negative Bio fuels, massive Carbon sequestration,10X Lower Methane & N2O soil emissions, and 3X Fertility Too. Every 1 ton of Biomass yields 1/3 ton Charcoal for soil Sequestration.

    Carbon to the Soil, the only ubiquitous and economic place to put it.