The Jaredite nation was a huge society with a population which likely outnumbered the Nephites and Lamanites combined. In the absence of environmental rights activists, they had apparently used up all the timber in the land northward. The problem created an ecological crisis so severe that the animals were forced into the land southward for food (Alma 22:31). The Jaredites left the land desolate and so it was called Desolation. By definition, Desolation was the land north of the small neck of land spoken of in Alma 22:29-32. This confirms the often misunderstood fact that Zarahemla, Bountiful, and most of the Nephite cities were located south of this small neck of land. See also Alma 63:4-5.