Iraq's marshes showing fast recovery

May 30, 2006

Re-flooding of Iraq's destroyed Mesopotamian marshes has resulted in what scientists say is a remarkable rate of recovery for its plants, fish and birds.

U.S. researcher Curtis Richardson of Duke University and Najah Hussain of Iraq's University of Basra have spend two years engaged in fieldwork conducted at four of southern Iraq's large marshes. They say water flowing from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers has been greater than expected.

Not only has the quantity of water been more than expected, the scientists say both salinity and toxin levels have been lower than had been feared. As a result, many native species have returned, including rare bird species, although their numbers have not rebounded to historical levels.

Iraq's marshes were devastated during the 1980s and 1990s by the efforts of Saddam Hussein's regime to eliminate the marshes in a political move against its enemies. As a result, tens of thousands of marsh Arabs fled to southern Iran.

Richardson's and Hussain's research appears in the June issue of the journal BioScience.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Japan launches new spy satellite

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Lessons from Iraq: Urban marshes and city survival

Oct 05, 2012

Jennifer Pournelle is continuing to build the case that natural wetlands, rather than irrigated fields, are the fertile ground from which cities initially emerged in Mesopotamia. And her conclusions about ...

Recommended for you

Japan launches new spy satellite

4 hours ago

Japan on Sunday successfully launched a back-up spy satellite, its aerospace agency said, after cancelling an earlier lift-off due to bad weather.

NASA launches satellite to measure soil moisture

4 hours ago

NASA on Saturday launched a new Earth-observing satellite that aims to give scientists high-resolution maps showing how much moisture lies in soil in order to improve climate forecasts.

Planck: Gravitational waves remain elusive

Jan 30, 2015

Despite earlier reports of a possible detection, a joint analysis of data from ESA's Planck satellite and the ground-based BICEP2 and Keck Array experiments has found no conclusive evidence of primordial ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.