Crow Canyon’s Pueblo Farming Project Cited in Government’s Carbon Cycle Report

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The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center’s Pueblo Farming Project was highlighted in a new U.S. government report, The Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report—a companion piece to the highly-publicized National Climate Assessment which warns about the dangers of climate change.

Both reports were released by the federal government in November.

Authored by some 200 scientists and issued by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report provides a current “state-of-the-science” assessment of the carbon cycle in North America, and its connection to both climate and society.

According to the authors, the report “addresses North American carbon fluxes, sources, and sinks across atmospheric, aquatic, and terrestrial systems, as well as relevant perspectives from scientific observations and modeling, decision support, carbon management, and social sciences,” and while it does not make any specific policy recommendations, it is intended to help inform policy decisions as related to climate change.

The Pueblo Farming Project (PFP) was referenced in a chapter on tribal lands as an important research project documenting the sustainability and cultural importance of traditional agricultural practices.

The PFP is an ongoing collaboration between Crow Canyon and Arizona’s Hopi tribe to investigate the viability of growing Hopi corn outside of the Hopi mesas in northern Arizona. Since 2008, Crow Canyon researchers have planted, tended, and harvested corn and other crops from experimental gardens here on the Crow Canyon campus and elsewhere in southwest Colorado using traditional Hopi methods. These methods, which eschews modern farming machinery such as tractors or tillers for traditional tools like planting sticks, use minimal water and maximizes the moisture, nutrients, and carbon storage in the region’s typically sandy soil.

The results of the research have helped researchers show not only how Ancestral Pueblo people sustained themselves in the arid climate of the Mesa Verde region, but how that information can be used to make policy decisions as the modern climate changes. The results of this research are included in an eBook, The Pueblo Farming Project: A Collaboration between Hopi Farmers and the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, available for free on the Crow Canyon website.

The PFP is led by Dr. Mark Varien, executive vice president of the Research Institute at Crow Canyon; Paul Ermigiotti, Crow Canyon educator; Grant Coffey, Crow Canyon GIS archaeologist; Dr. Kyle Bocinsky, director of the Research Institute at Crow Canyon; and Read Brugger, Crow Canyon volunteer; in conjunction with the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office and the Hopi Cultural Resources Advisory Task Team.

The Pueblo Farming Project was funded in part by a History Colorado State Historical Fund grant.