RESOURCES: A Marsh Reborn

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Science  15 Sep 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5793, pp. 1547
DOI: 10.1126/science.313.5793.1547d

The Middle East's largest wetlands, the sprawling marshes near the junction of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Iraq were once home to about 500,000 people. But the ecosystem withered because of upstream water diversions and Saddam Hussein, who ordered the wetlands drained to suppress dissent in southern Iraq (Science February 2005, p. 1186). This site from the U.N. Environment Programme follows the progress of a project to restore the parched area begun after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. At the time, the wetlands' original 20,000 square kilometers had dwindled by more than 90%. But by this June, they had rebounded to about 60% of their previous size. The site offers satellite land cover maps and progress reports that track water extent and vegetation regrowth.

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