Amazon has lessons for combating climate change

Climate change could be tackled by harnessing a technique used by the tribes of the Amazon, according to scientists.

Edinburgh University has just launched a new research centre to study the practice of turning waste plant material to charcoal and burying it.

As well as trapping the carbon absorbed by the plants, this method also helps fertilize the land where it is buried.

According to Dr Simon Shackley of the, this process was first discovered when dark patches of fertile earth were spotted in the Amazon rainforest.

He told the Scotsman newspaper that the tribes of the Amazon could have been using the technique for thousands of years.

"From the archaeological evidence, I think they probably discovered it by accident," he added.

"They were clearing forest and when they burned large amounts of wood some of it would probably become charcoal."

Rainforests act as massive carbon sinks, absorbing huge amounts of CO2 emissions every year.

However, climate change could reduce their ability to absorb the greenhouse gas and even turn them into net emitters.

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