Generally, rainforest soils do not hold most of the nutrients in the ecosystem. Most of the nutrient are in the plant matter and the animals’ tissues. When these living things die, they are decomposed and then taken up again to be in new plant tissue. When rainforests are cut, the trees are usually removed to be used somewhere on the global market. All of the nutrients in the trees are therefore permanently taken out of the ecosystem.
The rainforest becomes a desert eventually because the soil did not get to replenish the nutrients it usually gets from dead plant and animal matter. Things might grow in the soil for a few years, but if the soil doesn’t get decomposed organic matter it will become depleted of all nutrients. Slash and burn farming practices work because the burning phase accelerates nutrients returning to the soil.
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