Skip to comments.Iraq marshes(Biblical Eden) can be partially restored
Posted on 02/21/2005 7:04:50 AM PST by Alex Marko
The fabled marshes of Mesopotamia, largely destroyed by Saddam Hussein in one of the worst pieces of ecological vandalism in recent history, can be partially restored, scientists said on Sunday.
The first scientific assessment of the marshes in southern Iraq, al considered by some to have been the Biblical location of the Garden of Eden, was presented to the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Washington.
Saddam's drainage programme - accompanied by the persecution and forced relocation of the Marsh Arabs who had lived there for 5,000 years - reduced the wetlands to 7 per cent of their original 20,000 sq km area. But some of the former marshland is already recovering, following the actions of local people who broke down Saddam's dikes and dams after his regime fell in 2003.
The study by US, Canadian and Iraqi scientists showed a surprising rapid return of plants and wildlife to the areas that have been reflooded by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. "The quality of the river water turns out to be much higher than many people had expected," said Curtis Richardson of Duke University in North Carolina, the study leader.
"Immediately after [the overthrow of Saddam] we saw just a dozen birds in the marshes," Prof Richardson said. "A year later, there were hundreds and now they are talking about many thousands."
The marshes were once an important resting point for waterfowl migrating between Siberia and Africa. The local otter species, which survived in the small area of the marshes along the Iranian border that were not drained, is also making a come-back.
Barry Warner, a botanist at the University of Waterloo in Canada, said: "There are encouraging signs that a vibrant and healthy plant community will re-establish itself in the newly wetted areas."
Because the marshes were drained only recently - mainly during the 1990s as Saddam took revenge on the Shia Marsh Arabs for their failed insurrection after the first Gulf War - many desiccated areas retain a large and viable seedbed.
But the scientists said a sustained international effort would be needed to support Iraqis' efforts to turn the current ad-hoc flooding into a sustainable long-term revival. Peter Reiss, director of the US Agency for International Development's marshland restoration project, said: "Within Iraq the destruction of the marshes has become a symbol of the oppression by Saddam's regime."
Most Iraqis support restoration, but there is no consensus about how much of the marshes to restore permanently given the competing demands for scarce water. Prof Richardson said 30 per cent would be a reasonable target.
Plans by Turkey and Iran to take more water from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers also pose a long-term threat to marshland restoration.
Even the Marsh Arabs have somewhat ambivalent attitudes about restoration of the wetlands. Their population, estimated at 350,000 in 1950, is now little more than 100,000, none of whom are living in their original homes, Mr Reiss said. Their traditional way of life, documented by Wilfred Thesiger, Gavin Maxwell and other authors, was based on fishing, water buffalo herding and reed cutting. This is virtually extinct today and most of the remaining Marsh Arabs are impoverished sedentary farmers. But according to Mr Reiss, many of them feel it will be impossible to recreate their way of life and would prefer outside investment in conventional agriculture.
If Iraq was once a part of the Garden of Eden, then the place has sure gone to hell in a handbasket....
I hope this is possible.
Where are the "Greenies"? How did they allow this to happen? They need to get in there and fix the problem!! I am sure the "insurgents" will quake in their boots when the "Greenies" appear.
environmental nuts = lefty democrats or greens, thus oppose Bush for the sake of it and support all that are opposed by Bush.
Bush, evil anti-environment CONSERVATIVE, saves the marshes. I wonder if you'll find this article on DU?
Maybe we could plant a new tree of knowledge of good and evil.
> Maybe we could plant a new tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Oooh! Ooooh!! Can we then berate anyone who learns from it?
>considered by some to have been the Biblical location of the Garden of Eden
I have a question about this that has always bugged me. For the sake of arguement, assume that the whole Eden/Noah/Moses/etc. storyline is Absolute Fact. Well... if Noah floated around for, what, a year or more on a flooded Earth, what are the chances that he would land anywhere near where he started off? Could not Eden just as easily have been Newark?
A restored marshland would be one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Ecotourists would love it, and it could be a model for similar projects the world over.
I wonder how the world's various Green Parties would feel about the liberation of Iraq if this happened?
That would presume that the environmental nuts actually CARED about the environment.
They don't let facts don't get in their way. It would be too confusing for their drug addled, extreme leftist brains.
You guys are ON to something here..........
In the summer here, we say that it's sort of like Hell must be...barren, dusty and hot as....well, Hell.
The area from The mouth of the Euphrates to Damascus to the Jordan River valley used to be called the fertile crescent until the poor farming practices of the natives combined with the resurgence of Arab pastoral practices after the Islamic conquests deforested the land, drying it up and making it into a desert. If you have ever seen photos of Israel when it was part of the Ottoman Empire before extensive Jewish immigration you will see how much of a craphole the place was. Now after years of reforestation and modern farming practices, that area is in much better shape.
They don't care about the environment; they care about leftism.
> The question is impossible to answer, because no information is available about prevailing ocean currents during the flood.
Ah, but there's a problem. If the account is literal fact, then the Creationists would be right and the topography of the world was altered drastically... the Grand Canyon was carved, the continents and mountains raised, the seabeds sunk, etc. There's nothing sedate about this. The Ark woulda got blowed all over hell and gone.
If you change "Moses" to "Noah" I agree with your post. :o)
Scientist-speak for "we need grant money".
As big of an environment wrecker as Saddam was you'd think the Greenies would have marched on Baghdad themselves but I guess hating America comes first. Should I wait for them to thank President Bush for saving the marshes?
(That explains the sarcasm/cynicism of your first post).
Just like leftists don't really care about human rights. Otherwise they would have been on the bandwagon to liberate the brutally oppressed Iraqis, and not be living in a land of make believe where they say the Iraqis were peacefully flying kites until the bad old American soldiers came and killed them.........
They don't care a thing about anything but power and leftist extremist ideology.
Well, a lot of archaeological evidence shows that the Bible was reasonably accurate. We know that modern western civilization got its start in that region (I regard Genesis as describing the beginnings of modern man, the end of a very long process) and many cultures from the region describe a cataclysmic flood that covered the entire world known to the people there.
10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold...13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
Can't say as I can tell whether the garden was at the top or bottom of the Tigris/Euphrates system but, according to scripture, this is why Eden was not in Jersey.
I doubt the Garden was that confined. There were rivers running through it and all sorts of animals for Adam to name. It's a tribute to Man's basic flaws that Adam hung around the one tree, in the one area where he could get into trouble...
> as a typical anti-Creationist, you ignore the power of the Creator to do as He wills.
Hardly. I do not ignore the power of the Cretor to create the world over a dozen billion years of stellar evolution and to create the diversity of life on Earth via evolution.
It just seems odd that God seems to favor one small, geologically and ecologically unimpressive region of the world over all others...
Especially given that THE BIBLE speaks of such rivers being dried up in the end times. . . . that the KING OF THE EAST have an easier time invading toward Israel.
stay tuned . . .
> The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
OK, fair enough. However, two things:
1: How certain are you that these are the *same* rivers, and not just re-named new ones? (Note that there is a Cairo in Illinois, a Memphis in Tennessee, a Moscow in Idaho, and several Paris' across the States.)
2: And if they *are* the same rivers, that pretty much blows the whole "the Earth was remade by the flood" arguement.
> rivers being dried up ... easier time invading toward Israel.
Rivers do not present obstacles to invasions anymore. There are these things called "airplanes..."
But, the Bible suggests they'll be riding on horses.
> the Bible suggests they'll be riding on horses.
Well, good luck with that. I bet the IDF will have a fun time taking on horse-mounted cavalry with Apaches, F-16's and Merkavas.
Admittedly, Scripture is silent so, no, I cannot be certain. You have me there.
2: And if they *are* the same rivers, that pretty much blows the whole "the Earth was remade by the flood" arguement.
What is remade? If the Colorado river in Arizona was once a babbling brook through verdant pastures and some 'event' turned it into what it is now, then I would say it has been remade, yet it is still the Colorado. (No that example isn't based on anyone's theories...it just works).
Well I don't know if the Garden of Eden was in Iraq, but if it was the place went into Babylon = confusion, since those days.
Restoring "Eden" is a noble and laudable goal, and a very intriguing one at that. Thanks for posting this!
I'm sure God knew about airplanes way back when he dictated those words.
I don't presume to understand their full meaning.
But, hey, !IF! you care to presume greater knowledge than God, He's likely to let you get away with such a presumption . . . for a while.
> If the Colorado river in Arizona was once a babbling brook through verdant pastures and some 'event' turned it into what it is now, then I would say it has been remade, yet it is still the Colorado.
Well, according to the "all the water was suspended in the sky"-type Creationists, the Earth was remarkably flat prior to the flood. Also, the Grand Canyon was carved out by the flood. As a consequence, there would have been no particluar reason or even *ability* for there to be a Colorado river of any description prior to the flood. It would have been a flat, verdant plain; any creek or stream in the area would have been wholly unrelated to the Colorado that results from the Flood tearing the Earth up and forming the mountains.
Similarly, had there been Tigris/Euphrates rivers prior to the FLood, they, too would have been unrelated to rivers post-flood, since the source and sink for the rivers woudl have been entirely different.
This is, of course, idle fantastical specualtion.
There are certainly plenty of references indicating God does precisely that.
But, what I'm curious about and find much more odd . . . just when did you become big enough to tell God HE can't or oughten to do that? He'd likely be up for a good chuckle to but He already knows.
LOVE your tag!
> just when did you become big enough to tell God HE can't or oughten to do that?
Just when did you become big enough to tell other people not to question things?
What that location has going for it is that its near the city of Ur(religious importance need not even be explained)
That's a pretty big leap of illogic!
I think the attitude of the heart is rather important when it comes to questioning things God has said.
And, I haven't found the attitude of the heart to be that great amongst those who seem most at odds with; most cheeky in wording about; most skeptical about the things God has said. But then, they don't seem that intimate with God's heart, either, so I guess it figures.
As to what the attitude of your heart is--God knows. But from the available evidence, I wouldn't want to bet the farm on it.