Researchers and archaeologists from the French Institute of Andean Studies and the University of Cambridge have determined that deforestation allowed floods to wipe out the Nazca culture, famous for their huge line drawings on the plateaus of the Ica Valley. Barren today, the Ica Valley was once an oasis, but environmental depredation and population growth led to the culture's downfall. The key to this once fertile valley was a tree called the huarango, which can live for more than 1,000 years and has roots as deep as 180 feet.

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