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Presentation Title: The Use of Biochar in Corn Hill Agriculture Discipline: Environmental Science School: Rochester Institute of Technology Presentation Type: Poster Presentation Abstract: The Use of Biochar in Corn Hill Agriculture Robyn Wilson, Ali Ahmed, and Paul Shipman, Ph.D. School of Life Sciences, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY 14623

The use of charcoal as a soil amendment, or bio-char, in human created landscapes of South America has recently become of interest due to revelations about the extent of Terra Preta soils and demonstrated benefits of bio-char use for agricultural production, use for soil remediation, and as a carbon sequestration technique. Though little historical information exists, there is a possibility that charcoal may have been used in some forms of corn hill agricultural practices in Eastern North America. We performed two series of experiments of in situ pyrolysis vs. controls to test for increased corn production on corn hills using a Three Sisters planting regime (corn, beans, and squash). We also searched relevant historical literature and spoke with elders to find evidence of pre-Colombian bio-char use in Native North American agricultural practices. We found significantly greater yield and growth differences in several varieties of corn grown on hills with in situ bio-char vs. controls of corn grown in soils with exogenous bio-char and no bio-char. We also found evidence that bio-char may have been utilized as a part of Native North American Agriculture.

Presenter: Robyn Wilson Tribe: Keetoowah / Cherokee Primary Email: Biography Robyn Wilson is a member of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees and is a fifth year Environmental Science Major in the School of Life Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology. She has worked the last three summers for the Natural Resources Conservation Services in Iowa as a student trainee working to be a soil conservationist. Robyn has been active in AISES for nine years, since her freshman year at Sequoyah High School in her hometown of Tahlequah, OK.


2011 National Conference Student Research Abstracts  
2011 National Conference Student Research Abstracts  

A comprehensive list of the student research topics that will be presented at the AISES 2011 National Conference