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Dr. Morgan Schmidt

Historical Ecology of Amazonia

Morgan Schmidt is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT. He has spent twenty years living and working in the Brazilian Amazon as a geographer and archaeologist studying historical ecology and cultural landscapes. Schmidt specializes in the study of terra preta or black earth, a type of anthropogenic soil that is extremely fertile and contains large amounts of carbon. Ubiquitous in the region, it is typically found in the locations of ancient settlements where human activities have transformed the vegetation and soil.


Since 2002, Schmidt has been working with indigenous groups to study the formation processes of terra preta and has demonstrated that their daily activities are still forming highly fertile soils today. Schmidt holds a B.S. in Geography from the University of North Dakota and M.S./Ph.D in Geography from the University of Florida.

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