14 Aug '12, 4pm

All the plants in the Amazon would die without this tiny patch of desert in Africa

All the plants in the Amazon would die without this tiny patch of desert in Africa

Here’s a little quiz: How does the Amazon, which has surprisingly nutrient-poor soil, manage to support such a diversity of plants and animals? a. Regular fertilizer deliveries from Home Depot. b. All that stuff just grows anyway because the Amazon is just super lucky. c. Natural fertilizer originating from a patch of desert in Africa about one-third the size of Florida crosses the ocean in the form of massive dust storms, depositing nutrients sufficient to support the entire Amazon, which is the size of the contiguous 48 states. If you guessed C, you’re so smart — you KNEW that there’s no Home Depot in the Amazon! And that generally entire rainforests don’t just get lucky — although, if you think about it, choice C is sort of lucky in its own “wow, doesn’t nature sometimes have the coolest trans-continental bromance with itself” kind of way. Scientists have known for some...

Full article: http://grist.org/list/all-the-plants-in-the-amazon-would-...

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