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Science

Prehistoric Garbage Piles Created "Tree Islands" 111

sciencehabit writes "Piles of garbage left by humans thousands of years ago may have helped form 'tree islands' in the Florida Everglades--patches of relatively high and dry ground that rise from the wetlands. They stand between 1 and 2 meters higher than the surrounding landscape, can cover 100 acres or more, and host two to three times the number of species living in the surrounding marsh. Besides providing habitat for innumerable birds, the islands offer refuge for animals such as alligators and the Florida panther during flood season. The trash piles—a mix of discarded food, charcoal, shell tools, and broken pottery—would have been slightly higher and drier than the surrounding marsh, offering a foothold for trees, shrubs, and other vegetation."

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