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Fact or fiction? 7 eco-myths debunked

By: Shea Gunther on Dec. 23, 2009, 10 a.m.
rain forest, rainforest

Photo: Butch Osborne/Flickr

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The rain forest is a natural phenomenon

In 2003, writer Charles C. Mann wrote an article in The Atlantic (later to be turned into a book) that posited a startling idea — that the Amazon rain forest, far from being a natural phenomenon, was a purposefully engineered tree farm planted by humans thousands of years ago. Rogue archaeologists Clark Erickson and William Balée believe the North and South American continents were populated by large and advanced civilizations that pulled off enormous feats of geoengineering, and the rain forest is a result of hundreds of years of fruit and nut tree cultivation by farmers. If we planted it once, that would mean we could plant it again.