Bountiful Adaptations

Study on ag’s impact on Hawai‘i Island soil wins national award

  • 24 March 2020
  • Author: Frederika Bain
  • Number of views: 3564
Bountiful Adaptations

How Polynesians adapted their agricultural strategies to patterns in biogeochemical processes on Hawai’i Island, and the long-term impact of different forms of agriculture on soil properties, are the subjects of a new study by Noa Lincoln of CTAHR’s Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences.

“We see an amazing diversity of agriculture in Hawai’i, almost every type of agriculture known: flooded irrigated, intermittent irrigated, intensive rained, permanent arboriculture, diverse agroforestry, swidden, and more—it was all here on one island,” says Noa. “With Hawai‘i’s unparalleled gradients in environmental factors, this is perhaps the best place in the world to study the adaptive radiation of cultural practices and how they interfaced with the land.”

The study, “Soil Pedogenesis, Agroecology, and their Interactions,” has received a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation, Division of Environmental Biology. The five-year, $825,000 award will support an interdisciplinary approach to investigation.

“Our lab will be using a number of diverse methodologies,” Noa explains. “While soil science is a core discipline, we will also be conducting paleobotany, archaeology, archival research, and historical ethnography that will all be brought together through spatial analysis and modeling.”

NSF CAREER awards support junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through the integration of education and research. They aim to support faculty that have the potential to lead advances in the mission of their department and organization.