Most chaparral areas formed where humans once destroyed forests and ruined soil. Because these forests could not regrow in the nutrient poor soil, chaparral plants took over. Most of the Macchia was formed this way. Although scientists believe that the Macchia probably always existed on the Mediterranean coast, it later took over inland regions and mountain slopes only after forests were destroyed by humans. More than 3,000 years ago as the Mediterranean became more populated, people started rapidly cutting down forests to use the land for grazing their animals. The land was eventually over-grazed the soil lost all of its nutrients. With no plants left to hold the soil together, it was easily eroded away by wind and rain. This was when the Macchia took over the thin, almost desert-like soil. Succession caused by humans put the Macchia right into the climax stage, where it thrives today.