[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 9-Aug-2005
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Contact: Annie Drinkard
Ecological Society of America

Restoring the 'Garden of Eden'

Researchers report on the state of Iraq's Mesopotamian marshes

While much of the world has focused on the war in Iraq, a group of wetland ecologists has been busy collecting data on the Mesopotamian marshes of southern Iraq. Formerly the largest wetland in Southwest Asia, the marshes are home to the native Ma'dan marsh dwellers, as well as numerous species of migrating waterfowl and game fish. Drainage of the wetlands as well as toxic contamination over the last twenty years devastated much of the marshlands. A mere 10 percent remain as viable wetlands.

After two years of study, Iraqi and other researchers will present their findings on the marshes' current state, as well as offer their perspectives on hopes for wetland restoration during a special session held during the Ecological Society of America's-INTECOL's Joint Meeting. This marks the first time Iraqi ecologists have been to a western ecology meeting. It is also the first comprehensive data set on the status of the marshes collected by Iraqi scientists.

Organized by Curtis Richardson (Duke University, USA) and Barry Warner (Wetlands Research Centre, Ontario, Canada), the session will cover the current ecological state of the marshes, including studies on fish, birds, plants, quality of water and soils, as well as the outlook for restoration success and the challenges of boundary issues with other countries such as Iran, Turkey, and Syria.

Among the suite of presentations:


Special Session 9: Restoration of Mesopotamian Marshes of Iraq. Tuesday, August 9, 1:30 - 5:00 PM (13:30 - 17:00), Exhibit Hall 210 A-E, Level 2, Palais des congrès de Montréal.

Visit www.env.duke.edu/wetland for photos and articles about the marshes.

For more information about this session and other ESA-INTECOL Meeting activities, visit: www.esa.org/montreal. The theme of the meeting is "Ecology at multiple scales," and some 4,000 scientists are expected to attend.

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