Departmental Research Areas:
How tropical soils can be managed for increased food production while conserving the environment.
Throughout my professional career, I’ve been working on tropical soils to help reduce world hunger and do it in tune with the environment. Earlier in my career, I worked in tropical Latin America on alternatives to slash and burn agriculture and the development of the Cerrado region of Brazil. Then I worked in Southeast Asia, primarily in Indonesia, also on alternatives to slash and burn agriculture. For 25 years I worked in tropical Africa, where I was stationed at the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) in Nairobi.
Since 2003, I worked at Columbia University in New York on developing a plan to attain the hunger reduction development goals and help conceptualize the African Green Revolution, in which soil fertility depletion is the primary biophysical constraint to increasing production for smallholder fields of Africa. In the Millennium Villages project we used soil science to double or triple food production in 12 countries of Africa, each one representing an agroecological zone in farming systems.
Now in Florida I intend to continue working in tropical Africa on soil fertility issues, including the SoilDoc testing kit, which enables soil testing to be done on the farm without electricity or distilled water. I’m writing the new edition of my tropical soils book, and there are a lot of areas in which I’m interested in having graduate students do research with me. I am also developing a food security and environment program in Cuba, my native country, where soils and water play a very important role.
Soil and Water Sciences Department
2181 McCarty Hall, PO Box 110290
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611
2169 McCarty Hall
(352) 392-3399 fax